SPD's FUTURE WILL CONTINUE to LOOK GOOD--BUT ONLY AFTER it WORKS OUT its DIFFERENCES with THE LEFT in 2010 or 2011
By Kevin Stoda, Germany
According to the Deutsche Welle on September 3, 2009 "After four years of sharing power with the Since 2005, Merkel's party, known as the CDS-CDU (Christian Democratic- and Christian Socialist Union group), has had to serve in a with their arch-political rivals, the (SPD) of Germany ., Chancellor Angela Merkel has made it clear she'd like to rule without them. But a new poll suggests she might not get the votes she needs."
On August 30th, the SPD, Green and THE LINKE parties had forced German Chancellor Merkel's own party out of power in elections in the German states of Thuringen and Saarland . Worse still, in both Thuringen and Saarland , the CDU's vote total had fallen by over ten percent since the previous state elections 4 years ago.
Meanwhile, and somewhat hopefully for Chancellor Merkel, national polls in mid-September in Germany still indicate a likely election result of Merkel being reelected as Chancellor with the support of the FDP (Germanys Free Democratic or liberal party). Most polls show the Chancellor's party with 36.3% of the vote and the FDP with about 14.4% of the vote total nationally. That is a slim majority but certainly enough to build a coalition on.
FRUSTRATION FOR THE LEFT AND GREENS
This is trend in the expected-2009 National Election results is particularly frustrating for many would-be voters in Germany . Polls have shown consistently that as of 2009, German voters prefer left-of-center politics much more than either conservative, liberal or libertarian policies. Paradoxical, there is widespread expectations in Germany that CDU-CSU and FDP national governing coalition will be the result of the German elections.
A well-designed poll in summer by the DIE ZEIT newspaper demonstrated the following results and trends in political demographics in Germany : (1) Every third German considers him or herself LEFT. Even more surprisingly, (2) nearly 25% of the CDU-CSU party also see themselves as left of center. As well, (3) 23% of the FDP party members see themselves as left of center.
As a matter of fact, the majority of Germans also support these 3 key position--all fully supported by in the party platform of THE LINKS Party ("Links" is the German word for THE LEFT) of the Germany. These three positions are:
(1) Germany needs to rethink its policy and get out of Afghanistan .
(2) Germany needs to set a minimum wage.
(3) Government needs to maintain control of both the German Railway (DB) system and the major electrical or energy corporations.
Why will the SPD, DIE LINKE, and other progressive parties not likely build a winning coalition in 2009 in Germany ?
STEINMEIER PROMISES NO MARRIAGE WITH LEFT
According to most every political wonk in Germany, the problem for the progressive parties is that until now the national SPD (Frank-Walter Steinmeier, have refused to work out its ongoing differences and concerns with the THE LEFT (in German language: DIE LINKS) Party. 's) leadership and the SPD's chancellor-candidate for 2009,
DIE LINKS party is Germany 's newest --coming into parliament for the first time in 2007.
THE LEFT Party of Germany was created by a breakaway or splinter group of SPD party leaders, (including former SPD Chancellor Candidate, Oscar Lafontaine) who had felt in the early part of this decade that the SPD Chancellor Schroeder had given away the baby with the bathwater in passing conservative and anti-social legislation--similar to what Clinton did in the USA in the 1990s. This splinter group joined the second generation of leadership spun-off from the former SED Party of . This particular party was known as the PDS until joining Oscar Lafontaine and his SPD-colleagues in a "leftist renewal party" platform in 2007.
In Hessen, there was a disastrous attempt to marry the SPD and DIE LINKE in a coalition at the state level in 2008.
However, at the city level, such as in Cologne, Dusseldorf, and in Berlin, the new party, DIE LINKE and SPD parties have been able to work together (NOTE: often with the co-support of the German Green Party). More importantly, following the Thuringen and Saarland elections on August 30, 2009 it again appears that two more coalitions involving a combination of SPD, LINKE, and Greens may come into being by early .
Frustratingly for many voters, the bad feelings between some of the SPD leadership and its former colleagues in DIE LINKE PARTY have kept the two parties from working together at the national level. Furthermore, in the western regions of Germany , many SPD party members and independent voters refuse to support a coalition with DIE LINKE, which they see as finding its roots fully in the communist political tradition, which had dictatorially controlled East Germany from 1949 to 1989.
RED-RED IS SEEN AS TOO RED
an English speaking daily in Germany , explains, "So-called red-red
coalitions between the SPD and The Left, a collection of former
communists and disgruntled trade unionists,
are common in the east of the reunited country. But they have been
taboo in the west, where many see The Left as too radical and tainted
by its historical links with the party that built the Berlin Wall. Saarland would be the first western state to see such a
Merkels party, the CDU-CSU paints any double-red coalition as a communist menace. So, naturally, in the wake of the August 30 election results, "Merkel, who grew up behind the Iron Curtain, warned in regional campaign appearances against the rise of The Left as Germany marks 20 years since the Wall's collapse."
On the other hand, "Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the SPD's candidate struggling to oust Merkel from the Chancellery, immediate seized on the results as a chance to ignite his flagging campaign." Steinmeier continues to emphasize that his party's chances are not over. However, ". . . the state results, largely expected, are unlikely to knock Merkel off course in her bid to win a second term as the CDU still enjoys around a 15-point lead ahead of the Social Democrats in national surveys." This is because (just as in Saarland is currently the case) without DIE LINKE, the SPD cannot put together a coalition, i.e. without rejoining an alliance with Chancellor Merkel's CDU-CSU Party at the national level.
NOTE. Meanwhile, there is not much of a chance that Chancellor Merkel will invite Steinmeier's SPD to a Grand Coalition (again) in 2009 if the FDP can poll 14 to 15% of the national vote. This is because over the 70 years of election history of the Federal Republic of Germany, the CDU-CSU has consistently chosen to rule with the FDP (Free Democrats) as its standard partner nearly well over 50% of the time
In other words, until the SPD's national leadership and their supporters can work out their differences, the SPD is likely to be the odd-man-out when national election day arrives. Currently, the SPD is only expected to get about 23% of the national vote . Therefore, rumors are abound that following this anticipated-2009-catastrophe, the SPD will rethink its attitude towards working with THE LEFT party.
Here on this website is a history of German national election results since 1949