An introduction

This is a semi-public place to dump text too flimsy to even become a blog post. I wouldn't recommend reading it unless you have a lot of time to waste. You'd be better off at my livejournal. I also have another blog, and write most of the French journal summaries at the Eurozine Review.

Why do I clutter up the internet with this stuff at all? Mainly because I'm trying to get into the habit of displaying as much as possible of what I'm doing in public. Also, Blogger is a decent interface for a notebook

Friday, August 28, 2009

German elections

Germany has federal elections next month; polls are here. In accordance with this year's European theme of a centre-left utterly unable to take advantage of the economic crisis, the SPD are steadily losing support. Consequently the entire left-wing is on the back foot. The Left and the Greens aren't making up much ground -- and even if they were, it wouldn't affect the electoral maths. The only coalition able to challenge the CDU/FPD would be one uniting the SPD, Die Linke and Die GrĂ¼ne. Many SPD leaders refuse to contemplate a coalition with Die Linke, seeing them as unreformed East German communists without any place in a democratic Germany. Some strands within Die Linke are equally reluctant to serve in such a coalition. A coalition isn't impossible -- but the SPD would probably prefer a few more uneventful years of Grand Coalition, rather than risking tearing it apart for the sake of an even more diverse coalition. The other outside possibility, an SPD/Green/FPD coalition, seems pretty implausible given the steady rightward movement of the FPD since the 80s. It could happen if the CDU somehow made themselves obnoxious partners, but that's outstandingly unlikely with compromise-loving Merkel at the helm.

There are things to be excited about in this election, but the national picture isn't one of them. While I'd love to see the CDU/CSU lose their 10+ point lead over the SDP, it seems pretty unlikely. The Greens and the Left might make some small gains, but the polls don't show any staggering motion. So, despite this being the federal election, I'm somewhat more interested to watch the changes at a local level, observing which parties are improving their machines. More on that -- well, when I can get round to writing about it. So, possibly never.

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