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Greens surge in state election in Saxony-Anhalt

The Local · 21 Mar 2011, 07:23

Published: 20 Mar 2011 20:52 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Mar 2011 07:23 GMT+01:00

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Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) came first and were likely to stay in power in a grand coalition with their main political opponents at national level, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD).

This was despite the CDU's share of the vote slipping some three percentage points to 32.7 percent. The SPD's share of the vote was little changed on 21.5 percent, behind the socialist party The Left, on 23.8 percent, also little changed.

The Left and the SPD potentially could form a left-wing alliance to oust the awkward right-left grand coalition. However, the Social Democrats announced before the vote they would not support a state premier from The Left, which is the successor to East Germany's communist party.

"The SPD always said that and that's how it will remain," said Jens Bullerjahn, the Social Democratic state leader and Saxony-Anhalt's current finance minister.

But the big winners of the vote in the impoverished eastern German state - where unemployment stands at 13 percent - were the Greens, who more than doubled their score to seven percent.

The far-right NPD won 4.5 percent, below the five percent needed to enter the state parliament. The pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), Merkel's coalition partners at federal level, will also be unrepresented, scoring 3.5 percent.

The surge in the Greens' support was attributed to Merkel's stance on nuclear power after Japan's earthquake and tsunami on March 11 pushed reactors at the Fukushima plant to the brink of a meltdown.

People "want to know, particularly after the tragedy in Japan, what a responsible energy policy will look like," Greens co-head Claudia Roth said.

The result will give the environmentalist party high hopes for a much bigger prize: success in an election next Sunday in the wealthy southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, the most important of the year's electoral tests.

The election in Saxony-Anhalt, although driven to a large extent by local issues, "showed one thing: that the rise of the anti-nuclear movement is only boosting the Greens," the Stuttgarter Zeitung daily wrote on Monday.

Baden-Württemberg, where the CDU have ruled since 1953 - the year before Merkel was born, is home to four nuclear reactors. Saxony-Anhalt has none, but

has several wind farms.

Germany decided a decade ago to go nuclear-free by around 2020 but Merkel last year postponed the switch-off until the mid-2030s despite strong public unease about atomic energy.

But Japan's nuclear emergency prompted her last week to announce a three-month moratorium on the postponement and the temporary shutdown of Germany's seven oldest reactors pending a safety review. She also said she would speed up the transition to renewable energy.

This has not gone down well with voters, however, with a survey Friday showing that nearly seven out of 10 voters thought her moves were "pure electioneering."

A YouGov poll the day before showed that 81 percent of voters thought her actions over nuclear power were "not credible."

"Merkel: no one believes her any more" ran the front-page headline in the Berliner Kurier tabloid.

"What Merkel has started is a risky game and there is little to suggest at the moment that she will emerge as the winner. Her change has been too abrupt, too poorly prepared," Der Spiegel news magazine said this week.

Story continues below…

Polls suggest the Greens are also set to double their vote in Baden-Württemberg, raising the possibility that one of Germany's 16 states might have something no other state has ever had: a Green premier.

Guido Westerwelle, FDP leader, deputy chancellor and foreign minister, called on middle class voters to turn out and vote in Baden-Württemberg and SPD-controlled Rhineland-Palatinate, which also has an election next Sunday.

"As we can see, if you don't vote there is a big danger of a left-wing majority," he said.

Last May an election defeat in North Rhine-Westphalia lost Merkel's national coalition with the FDP its majority in the federal upper house, making passing legislation more difficult.

And this year's first state election, in Hamburg last month, saw the CDU replaced by the SPD in city hall after a decade in power.

AFP/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:11 March 21, 2011 by nolibs
This may seem harsh, but anyone who votes for The Greens is pretty stupid. Voting for them because they are exploiting this one issue is even more stupid. The Greens are extreme left-wing radicals...basically communists wrapped in the "ECO Flag".

Scott Adams, "You can never underestimate the stupidity of the general public."
09:50 March 21, 2011 by Deutschguy
nolibs is wrong.

The Greens are not extreme left-wing radicals. nolibs is an extreme right wing Tea Partier, who resents Germany's economic successes.

Any environmentalist group will be labeled 'extreme left wing' in a pathetic attempt to marginalize and discredit them. If any group should be and is discredited, it's the looney tunes right in the US. They routinely vote against their own economic interests through manipulation by Big Oil and Big Insurance.

When you compare actual written policy positions and analyses from the various political parties in Germany, the Greens always have the soundest research and legislative prescriptions.

Nobody buys anymore that environmental protections cost jobs. In fact, the opposite is true.
11:19 March 21, 2011 by nolibs
Deutschguy is wrong.

If I resented Germany's economic successes, I would be rooting for the Greens as the surest way to destroy those successes.

I can sum up your (The Greens) so-called sound research and legislative prescription in two words: high taxes.

A monkey could come up with that type of research. High taxes seems to be the only thing the Greens believe in in.

I'm pretty sure we can blame you (The Greens) for introducing this E10 fuel mess too....not to mention the higher food prices since farmland is now going to fuel instead of food. How is that for sound research? More like the law of unintended consequences which always seem to follow Green initiatives.

I will think of you and your party every time I pay the €0.6545 per liter of Oekosteuer as I fill my car with petrol...naturally it will be with a big thank you that I am fortunate to pay this legislative prescription.
11:21 March 21, 2011 by pepsionice
Only to point this out....in the vast number of cases where the Greens surge....they are actually taking SPD or independent votes (not FDP, CDU, or CSU). That might make you pause and think....for the folks over at the SPD should be more concerned about this than anyone else.
12:26 March 21, 2011 by JDee

What is your agenda here?

The green do not promote E10 and every person who acts green helps to reduce fuel and food prices for those that don't. Just google about Bio-fuels and the Green party and you will find this information. There are possibilities for more sustainable Bio-fuels ( i.e. from Algae ) but the best overall policy will always be a reduction in use. If you want cheaper pump prices, don't drive. If you can't afford it don't drive. Do not blame the people who are dedicating their lives to try and avert the very crisis that YOU are contributing to, that is infuriating.
14:31 March 21, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
well at least we now have The Hoff governing Saxony-Anhalt now... wonder why nobody has picked up on that... that the new Ministerpräsident there is now one Mr. Haseloff... our American readers must be having a ball with that idea... ;-)
17:25 March 21, 2011 by nolibs
@JDee...no agenda, unless you consider the truth to be an agenda.

How does using E10 reduce fuel and food prices? Rather, it is the exact opposite as I mentioned earlier. Let's use another product to fit your analogy, food. Want cheaper food, don't eat. If you can afford to buy food, don't eat.

It's like you are talking nonsense.

And of course the use of E10 is promoted by the Greens...it uses renewable resources and lowers Carbon Dioxide...you know the stuff that caused Global Warming before it was debunked as a fraud.

The Greens are really good at telling others how to live, while ignoring their own advice. Remember Ulla Schmidt's little jaunt to Spin in her armored car?
18:37 March 21, 2011 by LiberalGuy

How bout you do your talking at the ballot box rather than just insulting people who have exercised their democratic right.

If you have a point to make then put it forward in an adult manner rather acting like a child. You obviously have a point about The Green's policies so why not bring it up with them rather than labeling people stupid.

People who resort to name calling, show how little they actually have to contribute to a conversation.
08:54 March 22, 2011 by nolibs
@LiberalGuy I didn't "just" insult those who vote for The Greens, I also backed it up with valid points.

But, you are right about calling people stupid. I resorted to the same name calling that I hate when others do it. So let me rephrase...those who vote Green, especially when there is a knee-jerk reaction to a crisis, are not voting with a clear head and understanding of the consequences of their vote. Rather they are voting emotionally, perhaps out of fear, or a desire to feel better about themselves..
11:31 March 22, 2011 by LiberalGuy


One thing that I can't stand on this site is people resorting to raw emotion instead of discussing issues. I dare suspect The Local puts stories on here tht delibrately raise people's tempretures, as it's benifical for them to have firey debates (the more firey the debate the more times the website will be revisted by the parties involved). I've tried to not get sucked in by this form of journalism, but the temptation is too high.
20:51 March 22, 2011 by Deutschguy

No, you started out by calling Green supporters "stupid". Yours was the first comment, and nobody called you any name at all.

Then, you actually do something stupid, like labeling Greens "communists", which has absolutely no evidence to support that assertion.

Greens have policy postions on many things, many of which are not directly environmental or involve tax increases. So, there goes your argument right out the window.

You, frankly, sound like a shill for oil companies. And, your comparison of food to fuel is ridiculous. (And, don't go off on a tangent about crops for fuel causing higher food prices - they absolutely have, so that's not what my criticism of your comparison is about. Try a closer reading of what you wrote.)

And you didn't back anything up with "valid" points. You only posted anti-green gibberish by name calling.

I think you should pay twice the okosteur you pay now. You're driving on taxpayer subsidized roadways, but not paying for the pollution you, your car, your tires, and the dirty fuel you are using, causes. Thanks for driving up health care costs.
12:52 March 23, 2011 by nolibs

I never said that anyone called me anything on this article. I was making a general reference. Perhaps you feel a bit of guilt?

Yes, I know that the Greens have policy positions on other things...hence why I label them a bunch of Communists. Welfare, punitive "wealth" taxes, environmental taxes, taxes, taxes, taxes, gender "equality" through quotas and other discriminatory laws, wealth redistribution...need I go on?

The Greens want to control behavior on what they see as "bad" using punitive taxes. Driving is a fact of life. I need to drive because public transportation isn't always the best solution. My ability to "afford" to drive is directly affected by the very-high petrol taxes championed by your party, The Greens. Likewise, driving less may have a small effect on petrol prices, but not on the okosteuer which is there because of you. Let's not forget that the okosteuer doesn't even go to environmental projects, but rather to unemployment and handouts. What better way to stay in power than to have a welfare class dependent on your handouts.

"I think you should pay twice the okosteur you pay now." Yes, I know you do. I believe the Greens have made it quite clear that they would like to raise petrol prices to 3 Euros per liter or more.

Yes, I am attempting to marginalize and discredit a group which is dangerous and counterproductive in my opinion.

So, just for you I am going to drive to the next REAL or Kaufhaus (at least 20k away) via the Autobahn. Naturally I have to drive at least 190km or faster when possible..at least on the stretches of road that you haven't been able to put a speed limit on yet. I will wave to the Straßenbahn on my way, just in case you are on it. Once at the store, I will buy 1 steak (preferably from Argentina) and Spargel (from Peru). I will then return home and cook that steak on a grill with plenty of charcoal. As I eat my steak, and wash it down with Australian wine, I will think of you. : )
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