Society, Culture & Politics Program


The Greens’ Success in Baden-Württemberg

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.

“King Kurt” Reigns in Rhineland-Palatinate

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.

Next Up: Elections in Saxony-Anhalt

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 Hamburg Election Aftermath

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.

Run-up to the Hamburg Election

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.

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The Need for a Narrative

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.

Politischer Rückblick 2010 und Ausblick 2011

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.

American Education Reform Process in Isolation

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.

Friendship Assimilation and Ethnic Homophily of Young Immigrants in the U.S. and Germany

Although Germany’s share of immigrants ranks third in the EU behind Luxembourg and Switzerland, Germany still seems to struggle with being a country of immigration, writes DAAD/AICGS Fellow Prof. Dr. Michael Windzio. Regarding the increasing relative size of the first, second, and third generation immigrant population, however, it is a crucial question for Germany’s future development whether their integration will be successful. In this light, Prof. Dr. Windzio offers an overview of theories of immigrant incorporation in social networks and empirical results on segregation in social networks in the U.S. and Germany, further examining how the German and American debates on integration differ.

German Family Policy and the Idea of “Wahlfreiheit”

At 3.1 percent of GDP, Germany spends far above the OECD average on family benefits, whereas the United States spends only 1.3 percent of its GDP on family benefits. However, differences in spending are not the only contrasts regarding family policy in Germany and the U.S., writes former DAAD/AICGS Fellow Dr. Isabelle Kürschner. They also differ significantly with respect to parental leave systems, maternal employment rates, and the number of children born in each country. Dr. Kürschner examines the distinctiveness of German family policy in this Transatlantic Perspectives essay.

Don’t Mention the Four

“Football is not a matter of life or death,” claimed Bill Shankly, a former manager of Liverpool, one of England’s most well-known football clubs. “It’s much more important than that!” …

Cover Forging the future of Germany and Europe

Forging the Future of Germany and Europe: Reflections on 20 Years of German Unification

The questions, choices, and decisions that Germany of 2010 faces today are vastly different than those the two Germanys confronted over two decades ago. This special publication, made possible by …