Friday, 18 Jan 2019

German ruling parties punished in legislative elections

BERLIN – Germany's ruling parties lost significant support in Sunday's parliamentary elections, marked by discontent over internal conflicts in Chancellor Angela Merkel's government and calls for a coalition to It acts quickly.

Merkel's conservatives achieved an extremely gloomy victory over the vote of the legislature of the central region of Hesse. The mediocre performance of its center-left government partners left them in second place in the Greens, while the far-right Alternative for Germany entered the last of the 16 German parliaments.

The Merkel Christian Democrat Union defended its 19-year presence on Hesse, formerly a stronghold of the center-left Social Democrats, the partners of the Chancellor's coalition in Berlin.

Before the vote, there was much speculation that a disastrous result for one or the other party or both parties could further destabilize the national government, pushing the social democrats to withdraw and potentially endangering Merkel's position. On Sunday, the heads of government seemed to want to try to keep the show on the road.

Andrea Nahles, leader of the Social Democrats, said that "the state of government is unacceptable".

She added that her party would insist that Merkel's ruling coalition agree on a "clear and binding timetable" for the implementation of the projects, adding that its implementation in the perspective of Mid-term review already agreed next autumn would show "if we are still in the right place in this debate". government."

CDU Secretary General Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said the coalition should identify "three concrete projects that we will implement for the coming months". She did not specify what they could be.

The conservative governor of Hesse, Volker Bouffier, told his supporters that "the message this evening to the ruling parties in Berlin is clear: people want less debate, more objectivity, more solutions."

Merkel's CDU won 27% of the vote on Sunday and the Social Democrats 19.8%. The last time Hesse elected his national legislature in 2013 – the very day Merkel, at the height of his power, won a third term at the Chancellery – won 38.3% and 30.7% respectively . This was the worst result in the region for the Social Democrats since the Second World War.

The Greens achieved big gains, with 19.8% of the vote against 11.1% five years ago. And the anti-migration and anti-establishment alternative for Germany has gained 13.1%.

Free pro-corporate Democrats got 7.5% of the vote and the left party 6.3% of the vote.

Voters seemed generally satisfied with the outgoing government of Bouffier. It was the first coalition between the CDU and the Left Greens traditionally capable of lasting a whole legislature and an unexpected and harmonious alliance.

But only the Greens, who are in the national opposition, have benefited from the elections.

The CDU-Greens outgoing coalition of Bouffier obtained a parliamentary majority of a seat. A CDU-Social-Democratic coalition, or a combination of Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats, would also have a majority of one seat, but neither one of them seems very likely.

The successful Hessian election campaign, which includes the German financial center of Frankfurt, has been largely overshadowed by the woes of a federal coalition ruling since March alone. The state is home to 6.2 million of Germany's 82 million inhabitants.

Two weeks ago, Merkel's two partners in the federal "grand coalition" of what was traditionally the most powerful political forces of Germany – the Christian Social Union, the only sister of Bavaria for Chancellor CDU and Social Democrats – were beaten in a national election. in neighboring Bavaria.

The Social Democrats, who had been violently beaten in last year's national elections, only reluctantly entered the national government in Merkel's fourth term in March. Many are appalled by what has happened since.

The government has gone through two major crises, first on the removal of a small number of migrants to the Austrian-German border, then on what to do with the head of the German national intelligence services after being accused of to minimize the violence of the far right against migrants. He failed to convince voters that he had made a lot of progress in other areas.

Karl-Rudolf Korte, professor of political science at the University of Duisburg-Essen, predicted on television on ZDF that his leaders "will do everything to save the" grand coalition "over the next three years".

Being able to keep Bouffier, a deputy head of the CDU, as governor would stabilize Merkel in the short term, he said. The German Chancellor of the last 13 years has indicated that she will run for another two-year term as head of the CDU in December.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, disseminated, rewritten or redistributed.


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