Skip to comments.Germans turn their backs on Schröder party
Posted on 05/22/2005 10:37:11 PM PDT by MadIvan
Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrat Party suffered a resounding defeat in its historical heartland yesterday when voters in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) rejected almost 40 years of rule by the party.
Defeat to the Christian Democratic Union caused Mr Schröder's party to call for general elections to be brought forward to the autumn.
The outcome of the vote, which is seen as a dry-run for the next federal election, will have repercussions way beyond the state that has driven the German economy since the war, and amounts to the biggest shake-up for the political landscape in almost a decade.
The loss of NRW is a strong indicator that Mr Schröder's party will be ejected from office at the next general election. Analysts expressed surprise at the SPD's proposal for early elections, but said it could be an attempt by Mr Schröder to silence Left-wingers in the party who had hoped that a defeat in the state would force it to water down its reforms.
Speaking last night, Mr Schröder rejected suggestions that he would resign as a consequence of his worst defeat in seven years but he admitted he had suffered a huge loss in support. Early elections, he said, were necessary so that he could find out if he had any political backing to push through his economic reforms.
NRW was the last of Germany's 16 regions to be governed by a coalition of the SPD and the Greens. The only such partnership left is the federal government in Berlin.
Frustration over unpopular government reforms such as the introduction of charges to see a family doctor, a cut in pensions and a drastic cut in unemployment benefit for the long-term unemployed fuelled discontent in the state.
Exit polls last night indicated that the SPD had secured 37.5 per cent of the vote, and the CDU 45 per cent, a loss for the Left of 5.3 per cent from the last state election in 2000, and a solid gain for the conservatives of eight per cent.
Less than half an hour after the first results were published, Franz Münterfering, the chairman of the SPD, announced that the party would push for a general election to be held 16 months before schedule. He called the result a "bitter defeat" for the SPD.
But the decision would depend on a vote today in the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, and Horst Köhler, the German president, would have the final say.
Mr Münterfering said he and Mr Schröder were keen to "clear up" the imbalance between the lower house, over which the government coalition parties still narrowly have control, and the upper house, which is dominated by the conservatives.
Angela Merkel, the head of the CDU, could hardly hide her jubilation. "The voters have given the Christian Democratic Union a sensational result today," she said. Mrs Merkel is now on course to win the chancellorship at the next election.
The Left's defeat follows eight consecutive wins in the state, which it had long considered its invincible stronghold due to solid support from the dominant working class. The drift away from the SPD was put down to voter anger over rising unemployment, which currently affects 12.1 per cent in the region and a chronically anaemic economy. The region is also burdened with a debt of £76 billion.
It would be a nice smack for Schröder and Chirac both to get voted out... What would that tell them ? Blair,Bush, and Howard win and Schröder loses (hopefully) then the last domino to fall in France.( if not the last, a big one)
Maybe the Schröder party will start acting like the Donner party.
I believe they call this... Schroedenfreude =)
Hopefully, the voters did not see the CDU -- nor did it promise -- to be "even bigger, better socialists".
It could have something to do with the fact that the SPD promised the opposite of what it actually delivered.
Good. I never understood anti-Americanism in Germany, when most Americans are German by blood.
That what I think Ivan if I was Dubya forgetaboutit Herr Chancellor LOL!
Actually I watching European Journal you know what it more profitable stay unemployable back in old days
Something that you get more benefit when you unemployabed for lots of months that what I hear
I find that very amazing
Actually our certain fav Pentagon Secretary is German descent one name Donald Rumsfeld how I know UK Telegraph dig up Rummy family history
Did you know that distant cousin still live in Germany he gave badmouth interview about his American cousin Rummy
He be saying so many word he wouldnt' want Rummy come to Rumsfeld family reunion
Maybe in 1759.... Pablo shot beer through his nose when he read that....
Did you see the piece on Canadian TV about the state of things between east and west Germany. They showed one family from eastern Germany. The father had been unemployed six years and was still drawing benefits. His main problem seemed to be dealing with boredom. His former job was with the Communist Party. His wife was a teacher on some sort of disability leave. She seemed young and healthy enough though. They lived in a three bedroom apartment with very nice appointments, including a piano and an elaborate sound system. They complained about not being able to afford piano lessons for their young ones and how disillusioned they were that some features of the Communist government had been done away with in the process of unification!
I was getting real wheepy for them. :^O
You need to look at where the Angles, the Saxons (ever hear of Saxony?), the Jutes (ever hear of Jutland?) and the Vikings came from. It wasn't Britain. The original inhabitants (pre-Roman) were the Celts.
In fact, you could also make the statement that most Britans (at least pre-1960) were of German blood.
I am currently assigned to a well known Army base in Germany and am a German linguist. I think being a linguist gives me an "in" when I have conversations with Germans.
As I travel around I find that the vast majority of Germans with whom I have spoken are against Schroeder and think that his treatment of Bush is over the line.
Granted they don't care for Bush, but they love Americans, and that is the take home message.
See my #19.
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