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Countdown Germany: Day -10

by Saturday Thu Sep 8th, 2005 at 03:54:17 PM EST

I see Jerome has become unpatient and stepped in. Which I can totally understand. Sincere apopogies for being quiet so long! I'll try to do better during the "last" 10 days.

Waking of from political hibernation

Here we are, a few days after the "big debate", 10 days to go. And since last week-end, you can finally get the impression that there is an election going on in this country. I currently live in Berlin, and until last weekend, only some lonely posters (and, maybe, some lonely pollsters... uh, forgive me that groaner) gave witness of the coming election. Saturday evening, I was leaving the tube, heading for a barbecue in the Falkplatz, totally unprepared for a sudden manifestation of the election campaign: When I passed Schönhauser Allee, a man put a flyer into my hand, saying: "Here's a flyer from me."

  • Ok, thanks (I'm too polite. I never reject any flyers.)

Three steps later, I began wondering.
  • "From me?" What the heck does that mean?
  • Ok, that's a flyer of Green Party member-of-parliament Wolfgang Schulz.
  • Nice, I like him because he sued against the hardly constitutional procedure that caused this year's new elections.
  • Doesn't the man who gave me the flyer resemble Schulz slightly?

Of course it was him. Dealing out flyers on the street just the same moment his party member Joschka Fischer held a big speech in the "Arena" a few kilometers away. But since I was totally unprepared and in a hurry, I did not return to him. Although I really should have asked him some questions. Doh.

Premature elections are a bit like clock change in spring: The night has one hour less, and you just can not believe it is already 8 o'clock in the morning. You know that awful feeling, like being cheated out of sleeping time? - That is how the whole political public felt until last week-end: Just not ready to get up and make up your mind about whom to vote for. This was the case not only for voters, but also for politicians and the media: After integrating the lame camaigns into our political sleeps, like I usually integrate Monday morning's alarm clock signal into my dreams, we finally hit the snooze-button.

Read below the fold:

  • Day Zero will not be day zero

Day Zero will not be day zero

Counting down to election day now really feels like a NASA-countdown: We can not be sure if there has been a decision when zero has been reached. Why?

Yesterday, Kerstin Lorenz, extreme right wing party NPD-candidate in Dresden constituency, died after having suffered a cerebral apoplexy during a campaign event on Monday. The Saxonian election supervisor announced that election in the district, constituency no. 160, had to be postponed until the NPD announced a replacement and new ballots were printed. According to federal election law, in this case the election can be postponed until a maximum of six weeks later. But Saxonian election officials said that they strove for a delay as short as possible.

Still, one wonders what effect this will have on the elections. After people know the outcome in other regions, they might vote differently. And with the conservative majority in jeopardy, this can become a huge issue. But it is really difficult to imagine exatly what effect this will have and who will be the beneficiary. Last election, CDU direct candidate Christa Reichardt won only by a margin of 2.5 % over SPD's candidate.

Left Party officials already announced a lawsuit against the postponement in Dresden. But they are most likely to fail. There have been many lawsuits against different constitutional and election-law procedures (e.g. the dissolving of the Bundestag and the merging of PDS and WASG into the Left Party), but the constitutional judges always refrained from putting their hands into the political machinery.

More to come tomorrow and over the weekend

Good to see you back, though I sure know how life happens. But look forward to your updates!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Sep 8th, 2005 at 04:37:26 PM EST
That's a mess. How does that actually affect things?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 9th, 2005 at 02:13:52 AM EST
How does that actually affect things?

Regarding the outcome of elections, at the moment no one can say. But two things are for sure:

  1. If a CDU/CSU-FDP lead is in jeopardy on September 18, we will see the biggest amount of campaign funds being poured into a single constituency ever in Germany's election history.
  2. More importantly, the election of the chancellor by the Bundestag will be rescheduled. Hence, forming of government will also be delayed.
by Saturday (geckes(at)gmx.net) on Fri Sep 9th, 2005 at 04:10:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(I'm too polite. I never reject any flyers.)

Shall you ever come to Budapest for a few days and travel by subway, you'll quickly unlearn that :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Sep 9th, 2005 at 06:22:50 AM EST
Thanks much for the news. It's always appreciated.
by gradinski chai on Fri Sep 9th, 2005 at 12:09:51 PM EST

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