Another Land election, another historical result for the Greens: For the first time ever, the Greens bested the CDU, coming in a strong second in the May 22 elections. The SPD will retain power in coalition with the Greens, but the headline remains the Greens’ success and the failure of the CDU and FDP in the smallest of the Bundesländer. Pundits have labeled Bremen as the ‘final warning’ for Chancellor Merkel’s federal coalition ahead of the 2013 federal election, further showing the CDU’s weakness in large cities and the lasting impact of Fukushima on German voters.
In a new AICGS Podcast, AICGS Fellows Dr. Lily Gardner Feldman and Prof. Dr. Michael Brenner discuss with Dr. Jackson Janes the status of Germany’s “special relationship” with Israel after Chancellor Merkel’s visit and bilateral cabinet meetings, focusing on Germany’s role in the greater Middle East and the importance of interaction at all levels of society.
A Green Future? Implications of the 2011 Land Elections in Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg
In the case of the recent Land elections in Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg, the use of the word ‘sensational,’ for once, seems justified, writes Dr. Simon Green, Professor of Politics at Aston University, UK, and a frequent contributor to the Advisor. The results show that the Greens are the party of the moment, Dr. Green contends, but the realities of governing in Baden-Württemberg will present a challenge and at the federal level, Chancellor Merkel’s position continues to look somewhere between safe and unassailable.
In a new Transatlantic Perspectives essay, DAAD/AICGS Fellow Prof. Dr. Michael Brenner analyzes the role the Jewish past and the small contemporary Jewish community played in the foreign policy of the two German states before 1989, and to a smaller extent of unified Germany. The symbolic role the Jewish community played in the recognition of West Germany as a major player on the international stage was one of importance, Prof. Dr. Brenner argues, but in contrast, only during its last years of existence did the GDR use its official Jewish community to improve its foreign relations.
The CDU has been in charge in Baden-Württemberg either solely or with a coalition since the 1950s and a CDU loss of leadership here would be a serious blow to Merkel’s position as chairman of the party. Up until recently, the CDU has been in good position to maintain power with Minister-President Stefan Mappus and an economy that is doing very well given its strong manufacturing base. However, nuclear power concerns after Japan will dominate the debate, and the Greens look poised to potentially have their first-ever Minister-President in Winfried Kretschmann.
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Mostly overshadowed by the same-day election in Baden-Württemberg, the neighboring state of Rhineland-Palatinate has been in the hands of the Social Democrats (in coalition with the FDP until 2006) since the early 1990s. Minister-President Kurt Beck remains popular and the state is also doing well economically; booming high-tech and pharmaceutical companies result in Rhineland-Palatinate having the highest rate of exports among all Länder. Still, this tumultuous election year shows that nothing can be taken for granted, and this election will also come down to the wire.
In Saxony-Anhalt, the retirement of Minister-President Wolfgang Böhmer has opened the door to aspiring leaders Reiner Haseloff (CDU) and Jens Bullerjahn (SPD), who would like nothing more than to avoid another CDU-SPD ‘grand coalition’ in the government. Currently, the SPD looks likely to retain its position in the majority, but whether that will be in a coalition with the CDU, the Left Party, or the Left Party and the Greens remains to be seen. Another victory here for the SPD on March 20 would add to the momentum gained in Hamburg. AICGS has compiled essential links and media coverage surrounding the election in Sachsen-Anhalt, and will do so for each of the remaining Land elections throughout the year.
The results are in from Hamburg: the SPD, as expected, dominated the Bürgerschaft election and finished with 48.3 percent of the vote, its strongest showing in a state election in thirteen years. The debate surrounding this specific election, however, is whether the results can be extrapolated to the federal level. Chancellor Merkel argued that local issues caused the results, but others argue that this is the beginning of the end for Merkel’s governing coalition. Which side is right? Senior Non-Resident Fellow Prof. Dr. Dr. Karl-Rudolf Korte gives his immediate take on the election in an essay below; additionally, AICGS has compiled essential links and media coverage surrounding the election in Hamburg, and will do so for each of the remaining Land elections throughout the year.
On February 20, Hamburg’s Bürgerschaft election marks the first of seven major Land elections to shape the political atmosphere in 2011. The SPD – with main candidate Olaf Scholz – looks to gain some momentum with a victory in Hamburg, a result that could send a message to voters in the other elections later in the year and have implications for Chancellor Merkel’s federal coalition. AICGS has compiled essential links and media coverage surrounding the upcoming election in Hamburg, and will do so for each of the remaining Land elections throughout the year.
In this week’s At Issue, Executive Director Dr. Jackson Janes examines the efforts to deal with the shootings in Tucson and how both Germany and the U.S. try to come to grips with such violent acts.
Dr. Dieter Roth looks back at the major German political events and figures of 2010 and discusses how these events and people changed the political landscape over the course of the year. Dr. Roth, a frequent contributor to the Advisor, then turns to his outlook for 2011 and concludes that it will be a very interesting year in the world of German politics for all parties and actors. This essay was originally written for a Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg program which aired on January 2, 2011.
While American education policy has mostly been conducted at the local level, recent reform efforts have been enacted at the federal level. These reforms, however, have been conducted in ‘isolation’ and with minimal consideration for international evaluations like the OECD’s PISA studies, writes Dr. Kerstin Martens, AICGS Visiting Fellow in fall 2010. Why are such reforms carried out independently of international studies? Dr. Martens examines this issue in her essay.