This is a German video about the recent elections in Bavaria.
By Peter Schwarz in Germany:
Electoral debacle for conservatives in Bavaria
1 October 2008
The ruling Christian Social Union (CSU) had reckoned with severe losses in last weekend’s state election in Bavaria. The result declared on Sunday evening exceeded the party’s worst expectations and those of election pollsters. While in the last state election five years ago the CSU polled 60.7 percent of the vote, this time round it managed to receive only 43.4 percent. Based on the low level of voter participation in the election this means that the party that has ruled Bavaria for the past 46 years was only able to count on the support of a quarter of the electorate.
It is necessary to go far back into German history to find a comparable loss of support in a state election. In 1950 the CSU suffered even worse losses, but only because the conservative Bavaria Party had been able to mop up many of its supporters that year. The sister party of the CSU—the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)—suffered a comparably humiliating defeat in the Berlin state election in 2001, when it lost 17 percent of its vote in the wake of the city’s bank scandal. The most frequent terms used by commentators to describe the latest Bavarian election are “debacle,” “disaster,” “earthquake,” and “heap of rubble.”
A further remarkable result of the election is the inability of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) to profit from the decline of the CSU. The party won just 18.6 percent of the vote—less than its total in 2003, which was the party’s worst ever result. Any hopes that the recent elevation of Frank Walter Steinmeier and Franz Müntefering to the top of the SPD national leadership would help stem the tide for the SPD were dashed in Bavaria.
The winners in the election are the Free Voters, who entered the state parliament for the first time with 10.2 percent of the vote, the free-market Free Democratic Party (FDP), which re-enters the parliament with 8 percent after a 14-year absence, and the Greens, who slightly increased their previous tally and won 9.4 percent. The Left Party, which put up candidates in the state for the first time, obtained 4.3 percent—less than the 5 percent necessary for representation in the state parliament.
The CSU, which had governed the state since 2003 with a two-thirds majority, has now lost its overall majority in the state parliament and is dependent on a coalition partner.
Bavaria’s CSU leader quits after election blow: here.
German Left Party on the Bavarian elections: here.
Austrian elections: rightist forces benefit from decline of social democracy: here.
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