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  1. #1
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    Conservatives expand power in Germany

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party the Christian Democrats expanded their take of the seats in their legislature in recent elections.

    German elections (as they seem to me ) are similar to those in the UK where a party leader becomes chancellor. But they are different in that in Germany you are allowed to 'split' your vote between two different parties, like in America. (I dont know if that is possible in the UK.)

    Merkel and her party, in order to 'govern', needs to form a coalition with the other minority parties to reach a 'majority'.

    The conservatives former ally the Free Democrats lost their voting power in the legislature by not meeting a cutoff threshold. This means Merkel's party (the CDU) may have to compromise some of their positions with any new partner.

    What confuses me, and if someone from Germany or elsewhere can explain, if Merkel/the CDU form a government, what happens to their partner after government is formed?

    Do they lose electoral strength as in the past?

    Does Merkel and the CDU get carte blance to rule Germany as if the other parties no longer matter?

    Why would the other parties give up their opposition power immediately in return for something temporary? Or is the government 'unpermanent'? When can the next election be held?

    It does not seem to be a good idea to form a government other than for the biggest party, the CDU, or maybe its a great idea?

    If anyone is curious about German elections without the political questions heres a video.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24175780

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24170435

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...722297972.html
    Last edited by evanrick; September 23rd, 2013 at 03:35 PM.


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    Re: Conservatives expand power in Germany

    Slightly off-topic:

    There was also a BBC website article last week showing the lingering post-Cold War divide which was quite extraordinary, I never knew the former East Germany was lagging so far behind the former West Germany.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24166482




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    Re: Conservatives expand power in Germany

    So what role does immigration and the economy play in German politics? Does Merkel and the CDU appeal to immigrants?
    Are Merkel and the CDU 'real' conservatives or big government conservatives?

    Germanys economy may have grown but their wages are flat there too. Maybe Merkel is doing a better job at selling something that does not exist, a rising middle class?

    It seems pretty clear that in Germany and the US, in order to gain a 'competitive advantage' over France, over other countries, they must keep wages low and increase productivity at the same time.

    http://www.thelocal.de/money/20130920-52009.html


  4. #4

    Re: Conservatives expand power in Germany

    So many questions, Evanrick!
    1. Coalition government is the norm in many European countries. A programme for government is worked out between both parties and the major party usually has more of its policies included in the agreement. Programmes can be quite detailed and are designed to last the full electoral term.
    2. Minor parties in government tend to suffer at the polls in the following election - a backlash from their own supporters if they judge their particular policies were not implemented.
    3. The CDU's options appear to be a coalition with the Greens (unlikely) or a 'grand' coalition with the SDP - the SDP suffered at the polls the last time they were in coalition, so they will be quite wary in negotiating any deal. Still, the odds are there will be a coalition between the CDU and the SDP, in my opinion.

  5. #5
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    Re: Conservatives expand power in Germany

    It is noteworthy that the FDP have lost their place in the previous coalition removing a highly conservative influence from Germany's federal government.

    Should there be a coalition federal government between the CDU, and SDP I believe that the SDP will be much less subservient to the CDU this time around having learnt from its mistakes in an earlier coalition...or, so my SDP friends inform me.

    By United States political standards Germany's highly developed social democracy is decidely left wing.

  6. #6

    Re: Conservatives expand power in Germany

    ^ Good riddance to the FDP. A 'grand' coalition will be better for Germany and Europe, in my view.

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    Re: Conservatives expand power in Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by EastMed View Post
    ^ Good riddance to the FDP. A 'grand' coalition will be better for Germany and Europe, in my view.
    I agree.............................

  8. #8
    panegyric JUB Admin Corny's Avatar
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    Re: Conservatives expand power in Germany

    No, the last big coalition was a disaster. It also made the SPD as weak as it is now. Because they had a part in all of the decisions made during that time, they couldn't be a proper opposition for the last election period.

    Good riddance to the FDP - it's only a pity for Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger who is a really awesome politician.

    to answer the question from the beginning:
    The chancellor is elected by the Bundestag. Basically, anybody from the Bundestag could become chancellor. It is just an agreement that usually the party with the most votes will choose the chancellor. So if they are not in the absolute majority, they will need votes from some other parties. The chancellor appoints the ministers - so usually a coalition treaty is written and the other party(parties) from the coalition will get to have some ministries in exchange for their votes. Also they will agree on certain political directions. To pass a law, they need the majority of votes again. Usually within a coalition, you will vote for the laws from your coalition. But you don't need to. So if your coaliton only has a slight majority, it can be difficult if there are disagreements. That's when the opposition comes into play
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    Re: Conservatives expand power in Germany

    The fact that a country has a system where coalitions are often necessary to form a government indicates that it has an actual representative democracy, unlike the US where we have to pick from one of the two sides of the establishment pair or be silenced.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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