Sunday, April 10, 2016

Wrapping It Up

In March Red Baron reported on the results of recent elections in Germany in three federal states. Now the right leaning Aktion für Deutschland (AfD) is strongly presented in all these state parliaments. Still looking for their profile the protesters are just against the establishment but that is not a party platform. Therefore nobody of the "old" parties wants to deal with the new and mostly brownish deputies. Anyway, the losers rather are busy picking up their remaining pieces and are wrapping them up.

The political landscape in Germany has become more colorful* and since in none of the three newly elected state parliaments one party has a clear cut majority coalition governments must be formed.
*I pointed out the color codes for Germany's political parties in an earlier blog. Why the AfD is presented in charts and diagrams by a light blue color nobody has explained to me so far.

In Rhineland-Palatinate a classical Ampelkoalition (traffic light coalition: red-yellow-green) between the Social Democrats (SPD), the Free Democrats (FDP), and the Green is negotiated.

What is good for Castrop-Rauxel's municipal council
must be good for Rhineland-Palatinate's parliament (©Castrop-Rauxel)
In Saxony-Anhalt the Christian Democrats (CDU) try to form a Kenya coalition (black-red-green) with the Social Democrats and the Greens.

Kenya's national flag (©Pumbaa80/Wikipedia)
Finally in Baden-Württemberg following the clear victory of Winfried Kretschmann and his Greens a kiwi coalition with the CDU, i.e. green with some black spots, is likely.

The landscape of Baden-Württemberg with respect to the directly elected deputies
has a faint resemblance with a cut-up kiwi.
Note the two disturbing blue spots that previously had been red (©SWR)
In the still ongoing coalition negotiations many conflicting interests must be ironed out. Stumbling blocks are economic growth against green sustainability, more roads against maintaining the existing network, differentiated education against a unified schooling system only to name a few. The fact that it is is awesome to be in the government facilitates for some negotiators the swallowing of toads (as we say in German) or as Kretschmann said in his pragmatic way: It is better to establish something than stubbornly defend a position.

And there was another controversial issue that was wrapped up ... in Freiburg. In January 2013 Red Baron reported on a dispute about a planned painting on St. Martin's Gate (Martinstor). Here is a somewhat crazy proposal that would not be too much in contrast with the McDonald's advertisement nearby.

It is true: Many Italians visit Freiburg (©BZ)
To get an independent recommendation on the painting issue the municipal council charged an art commission in the beginning of 2013 to look into the matter. The wise guys eventually met for the first time in 2015 but then they suddenly worked fast. They deliberated the question what kind of picture should embellish the presently white surface of the gate in only four sessions. Last week they came to their earth-shaking conclusion: Leave the surface white. Will this decision silent the discussion? I doubt.

The present and the future? (©BZ/Ingo Schneider)

P.S. 1: And here we go. Today April 11, the Badische Zeitung published a letter to the editor. Dr. Eugen Baldas from Freiburg wrote that the decision of the art commission to leave the front face of St. Martin's Gate white comes untimely. This year is the 1700 birthday of St. Martin, born in the Roman city of Sabaria (today in Hungary) in 316.

In 2005 the Council of Europe declared St. Martin a person of sharing and of common values in Europe. In times of refugees living in misery coming to a divided Europe Dr. Baldas would like to see a painting of St. Martin encouraging sharing when facing Freiburg's shopping mile, the Kaiser-Joseph-Straße.

P.S. 2: On April 12, Freiburg's city council followed the recommendation of the art commission and with a large majority decided to leave the front face of St. Marin's Gate naked. Freiburg's Mayor Dieter Salomon commented the decision: "This is a plea for Nacktheit am Bau (nakedness on the building)". When one deputy complained about the yellow sauce (algae) spoiling the white surface Salomon replied: "Baubürgermeister Martin Haag will lend his hand to clean the surface so that at least one Martin will be on the gate". Our mayor had been funnier before.

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