Monday, 23 May 2005

Landtagswahl - the North Rhine-Westphalia Elections

Peer Steinbruck SPD election poster

The elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, which Bonn is a part of, are over, and it looks like Schroeder's SDU has lost quite badly to the CDU. Lots of noise in Dusseldorf, judging by the TV, but not many scenes of any sort in Bonn. (It only hit me later that the shuffle of people going into the Volkshochschule - high school - on a Sunday must have been voters.) If I'm understanding the TV right, it sounds like this is the first time the CDU has won in the state in ages... the incumbent premier Peer Steinbr├╝ck was talking about how the SDU has run the state for 39 years. He sounded really disappointed.

The Bundeskanzler Schroeder's really taking a hit for his economic reforms - he responded to the "bitter" (his word) loss by calling for nationwide elections this fall in 2005. From an outsider's perspective, though, if people vote in the centre-right CDU/CSU over the centre-left SDU, it doesn't seem like they would be the sort to move away from the benefit cuts. Der Spiegel had a semi-prescient piece in a special edition I picked up last week on how Schroeder is becoming more and more like Konrad Adenauer, for various reasons - starting as an Atlanticist, then moving towards Paris; and for forcing through reforms he felt necessary (Hartz IV) against the wishes of his party and voters.

I thought the campaign poster style for the German elections was quite interesting - like a series of head shots, not as much sloganeering as the US style. Took a series of photos that I'll post once I get to download my pictures.



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