19 September 2005

German election result

Live News Blog: The Latest News on Germany's Parliamentary Elections
Public broadcaster ZDF and Forschungsgruppe Wahlen have released their first exit poll:

CDU - 37%
SPD - 33%
FDP - 10.5%
Greens - 8 %
Left Party/PDS - 8%

In Germany only the lower house, the Bundestag is elected. Voting is by MMP as in New Zealand. The system was developed in postwar Germany as a reaction to the 'excessive' proportional representation in the Weimar Republic. The makers of the German constitution believed Hitler's rise was partly explained by the instability caused by a multiplicity of small parties in the Reichstag. I suspect it had more to with roughly 1/6 the of MPs being communists and anther 1/6 being rightists. If you're trying to find half the deputies and 1/3 of them are unacceptable life gets tough. You end up with the President appointing chancellors by decree, which is what Hindenburg resorted to with the results we now know.

The Bundeswahlleiter still has no official results up.

The BBC has a rundown on the German parties. That exit poll would leave the CDU/ThisFPD with 47% of seats where they need 51%. The SPD/Greens have 41%. How the Left/PDS will jump between abstaining and supporting the SPD/Greens is literally anybody's guess. This is a much messier result than New Zealand, especially when the CDU went into the campaign with a 20% lead.

Live News Blog: The Latest News on Germany's Parliamentary Elections
(6:32 p.m.) Cheers for SPD-chairman Franz M�unterfering, but otherwise restrained reactions in the Willy-Brandt House at the SPD's election party. With the weak results for their own party, the members are calculating that the crisis won't run too deep. Cheers break out whenever a new low number gets reported for CDU/CSU. 'The Union has lost,' is the tenor among the party faithful. And: more and more people are talking eagerly about a 'stoplight' (Red-Green-Yellow between the Social Democrats, Greens and FDP) coalition.'

A CDU/FPD coalition would have been a black-yellow government. There is some chance of a black/red grand coalition, which would translate into Australian terms as a Howard/Beasley government. Who says contemporary politics lacks colour?

The Bundeswahlleiter is still strangely silent.

Der Bundeswahlleiter:
WIESBADEN/BERLIN - As reported by the Federal Returning Officer, 41.9 percent of the persons entitled to vote have exercised their voting right until 2 p.m. (CEST) at today's Bundestag election. The votes cast by postal voters have not been included yet.The Federal Returning Officer has ascertained voter participation in co-operation with the Land returning officers on a representative basis for the entire Federal Republic of Germany.In the 2002 Bundestag elections, voter participation until 2 p.m. was 42.8 percent; total voter participation was 79.1 percent.The Federal Returning Officer asks all persons entitled to vote who have not voted yet to exercise their right to vote. The polling stations will be open until 6 p.m.

There are seat projections floating round the international and German media, but they're all based on exit polls at this stage. The CDU is now speaking about a black/red grand coalition with some enthusiasm. Deutsche Welle has a live radio feed.

Live News Blog: The Latest News on Germany's Parliamentary Elections

(6:48 p.m.) The head of the Free Democratic Party, Guido Westerwelle, sees his party as the 'victor of the day.'

The FDP is saying they will not join a stoplight coalition with the SPD and Greens. They plan on heading for opposition if the black/yellow coalition does not get an absolute majority.

From Deutsche Welle's audio feed at 7:44 local time. Schroeder just claimed victory. Merkel, the CDU candidate for chancellor, claimed victory at 7:01 pm German time.

Pope Stimulates Election Betting
Germany isn't exactly known as a den of gambling addicts, but after betting and winning that native son Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger be elected to the seat of Peter, more Germans than ever have been drawn to gambling on this Sunday's federal elections.

Well, it's an ill wind... The pope's brother confirmed that His Holiness, still enrolled in Bavaria, will not vote in this particular conclave.

Live News Blog: The Latest News on Germany's Parliamentary Elections
(7:26 p.m.) Despite his party's poor showing, Chancellor Gerhard Schr�der of the Social Democrats told party supporters Sunday night that he should remain chancellor. 'I feel this validates ... that in the next four years, the country will have a stabile government under my leadership.'

Schroeder and Merkel are both now saying they will negotiate with everyone except the Left/PDS.

The Results feed from the Bundeswahlleiter is interesting because the show the CSU, a Bavarian regional party usually counted as part of the CDU, as a separate party and they also show shifts in support from the last election. Yahoo has a self-updating version. Schroeder is using the alleged separateness of the CSU to claim the SPD as the alrgt party and threfore the legitimate candidate for the chancery.

Essentially, this election marks the failure of MMP. It was designed to avoid the Weimar problem of finding a majority government from only 2/3 of the deputies. The Left Party is held together by opposition to globalisation and economic change. In a sense it is an exact analogue to One Nation, although its formal positioning is left-wing rather than right-wing. Their polices are about as realistic as One Nation's were. All other parties refuse to negotiate with the Left Party, an amalgam of former SDP members and East German ex-communists. This means that today's Germany faces the Weimar problem all over again - finding a majority government from 90% of the deputes. The results would have been quite different under STV, but I'll go into that in more detail in another post.

The Vote in Germany: Preliminary Results Show Schr�der, Merkel Stalemate
Sunday's results are not yet final. The results from 220,000 voters in Dresden will not be known for another two weeks -- votes that could be vital for the final outcome. Last week, far-right candidate Kerstin Lorenz of National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) died of a stroke while giving a campaign speech, meaning that ballots there had to be reprinted and the vote delayed until Oct. 2.

Why do I feel the people of Dresden will see an amazing level of plitical camapigning in the next few days?

A lot of it is now only historical (except in Dresden) but Deutsche Welle has an English language election podcast.

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