Monday, August 2

Historic hit by Merkel’s party in two important regional elections

Correspondent in Berlin



Severe losses to the CDU and a clear signaling of the next possible government coalitions that may emerge from the September generals. Those are the two main conclusions of the regional elections held this Sunday in Baden-Wuerttemberg Y Rhineland-Palatinate.

In Baden-Württemberg, a prosperous industrial region and the heart of the German automotive sector, the announced victory of The Greens gives way to a third term of Winfried Kretschmann, 72, the only ecologist who rules in a German region and who has shown that his environmental policies are not at all counterproductive to economic and industrial interests.

His last legislature, in which he had governed in coalition with the CDU of Angela Merkel, had been considered as an experiment and testing ground for collaboration between these two parties, in the face of a possible coalition at the federal level after the general elections in September, but while the Greens repeat a broad victory with 32% of the votes , the CDU fell four points, to 23%, becoming even dispensable in the next formation of the regional government and giving way to other combinations in which the social democrats of the SPD.

Weakened by the influence peddling scandal in the purchase of medical supplies and by the last three months of management of the pandemic, in which Germany has remained closed and the vaccination campaign has barely managed to advance, the CDU also suffers a serious defeat in Rhineland-Palatinate, where still in November he aspired to put an end to three decades of social democratic rule and finally allows the continuation of Malu Dreyer, who would have obtained around 34% of the votes. The CDU loses in this federated state another 5% of the votes and remains at 26%.

In Baden-Württemberg the way is open for a ‘traffic light coalition’, composed of the Greens (32.3%, + 2%), SPD (11.1%, -1.6%) and FDP (10.7% , +2.4), which together would reach 54.1%. The anti-European and anti-foreign party Alternative for Germany (AfD) also loses in Baden-Württemberg (10.5%, -4.6%), while The left loses its presence in the regional parliament (3.2%). “I see this as a mandate to continue serving our country and I accept it with gratitude and respect,” were the first words of Kretschmann, who will end the legislature at 76 years old and who has revealed during the electoral campaign that the reading of Hannah Arendt “It saved me from left-wing radicalism.”

In Rhineland Palatinate, the SPD (35.7%, -0.5%), will enter into negotiations with the Greens (8%, + 2.7%) and with the liberals of the FDP (5.9%, -0.3 %), with which Dreyer would add a total of 49.6% of the votes. In the opposition would remain, in addition to the CDU, AfD with 9.6% (-3%). The Left has also lost parliamentary presence here (2.3%). It’s a happy night for me. This result is a confirmation of our government work and a confirmation for our party, ”said the regional president.

The push of the Greens

The results, as a whole, show a decline in extremist parties and the strength of Los Verdes. However, not all analysts consider these results to be extrapolated at the federal level. The President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, stressed that it is necessary to take into account, when interpreting the result, both in Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg, that in both cases the personal success of the two charismatic regional presidents in office plays a fundamental role, to whom he congratulated on its continuity. “This has been a choice of personalities,” said Schäuble, “it is not a pleasant evening for the CDU. But that was predictable.

The German Vice Chancellor and Minister of Finance agreed with him, Olaf Scholz, then Social Democratic candidate in the September general elections, who acknowledged that “this is a victory for which Malu Dreyer is responsible”, although he also celebrated that “it is a good day because it shows that a government can be formed without the CDU” .

But at the Konrad Adenauer House in Berlin, the CDU headquarters, the results were read from another perspective. Losses suffered are noted as the first failure of the newly elected party chairman, Armin Laschet, thus losing the chances of proclaiming himself an electoral candidate for the conservatives in the September elections. “To be clear: this is not a good night for the CDU. We would have liked to obtain better results », admitted the general secretary of the CDU, Paul Ziemak.

It was the first stage of the German electoral super-year and the Christian Democrats have received a resounding slap that will help to impose the thesis of a change in strategy and the search for a candidate with more electoral pull and charisma than Laschet. There are not a few analysts who consider that from now on the president of Bavaria will have a better chance of winning the candidacy, Markus Söder, with better popularity shares. «No man, no, today’s election results (…) initially have nothing to do with Armin Laschet. They have something to do with the federal government’s coronavirus policy in recent weeks and the events of the past few days. You cannot blame Armin Laschet for that, “said the influential conservative politician, however. Wolfgang Bosbach, which also recognized that ‘the fact that the old state of Helmut Kohl, Rhineland-Palatinate, surrender to the Social Democrat Malu Dreyer should make us think. ‘

Bosbach acknowledged that “the main damage has been done by the cases related to masks”, in relation to the resignation of three Conservative deputies during the past week for having incurred in influence peddling, having allegedly charged commissions for recommending to certain institutions the purchase of certain brands of masks and respirators during the first wave of the pandemic.

The CDU candidacy for the September general election, a still unresolved issue for the German Conservative Party, should be settled at Pentecost (May 23).

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