Monday, February 16, 2015

A Colorful Party Array

©BZ
Yesterday the people of Hamburg elected their new state parliament. The term of office is now five instead of four years for the Hamburgers! are pragmatic people and did not like that their Stadtparlament (city parliament) only worked for three years with the fourth year devoted to the election campaign rather than to useful activity.

Why do I write this blog? There are two topics I dealt with previously that need some comments in the aftermath of yesterday's Hamburg state elections: Color coding and female qualities.

In fact, Germany's legislatures are becoming more colorful, i.e., in spite of a minimum of 5% of the votes needed smaller parties are increasingly presented in German parliaments. Yesterday's results are a good example:

Incumbent Erster Bürgermeister (governor) Olaf Scholz failed to regain the absolute majority of votes and seats with his SPD. Social Democrats are not socialists, they correspond instead to the Democrats in the US.

Angela Merkel's party, the Christian Democrats, suffered a crushing defeat losing another 6% of votes compared with the last state elections. The CDU, Germany's Republicans, tried to palliate the failure of their candidate for governor by circulating the following statement: The right candidate at the right place but at the wrong moment, whatever that means.

©Der Spiegel
The Chancellor, however, described the disaster of her CDU in the Hamburg election as dreadful, absolutely dreadful. Her Bavarian minister of transportation retorted but at home we powned them referring to the crushing defeat (eight goals to zero) of the Hamburg SV against the Bayern of Munich in a soccer match on Saturday.

The Greens progressed following their slight drop in voter support in recent months.

Die Linke, the post-communists, also gained. The reason is that even or especially? in wealthy cities the number of needy people is progressing. They vote for their party while well-off citizens are more likely abstain. In fact, voter turnout in the state election was only 54%, three points down compared with the last election.

The Free Democrats remain in the city parliament. By staying below 5% of the votes they had been ousted from many state parliaments in recent years. Three months ago polls showed the Liberals in Hamburg at a mere 2 % but not only Katja Suding's legs kicked her party to an astounding 7.4%. In election statistics the FDP is still identified by the yellow color although recently the party experimented with magenta.

Katja Suding. A Green Party rival twittered:
Muss man sich mal vorstellen: mit Titten und Beinen anstatt Inhalten
(Imagine, with tits and legs instead of contents). What does the guy know about content? (©dpa)
For the first time Germany's tea party, the Alternative for Deutschland, has now entered into a West German state parliament. The AfD calls itself national and liberal. It nibble its votes at the right wing of the Christian Democrats comparable to Die Linken who are poaching at the left wing of the Social Democrats. Red Baron hopes that the AfD's light blue color will not turn brown with time.

Having lost the absolute majority Olaf Scholz must find a partner to form a coalition government. Well, we are in Hamburg and not in Casablanca but: Katja is looking at you, kid.

P.S.: Here comes a cartoon about political dating by one of my favorite artists published in the Badische Zeitung today (February 17). The port city of  Hamburg is proud of its red light district called Sankt Pauli and its famous stretch Reeperbahn. In olden days this long lane (Bahn) served as a production site for long mooring ropes (Reep in Lower German).

©Haitzinger/BZ
Olaf Scholz takes the Green girl into a "coalition" while Die Linke calls him you old Bourgeois. The FDP lures that coalescing would be easier (cheaper) with her. The CDU warns in vain: Turn back.
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