Election setback for Angela Merkel

Published on 31 August 2009 at 13:42
Zeit Online, 31 August, 2009


The results of the regional elections held on Sunday, 30 August, in Saxony, Saarland and Thuringia show that one month away from the national elections, which a coalition between Angela Merkel’s conservatives (CDU) and the liberals (FDP) were widely expected to win, anything still goes. Saxony is the only German Land in which the CDU, with their 41% score, “have no rivals”, explains German weekly Die Zeit. In Thuringia and Saarland, on the other hand, the CDU have lost 10% on their previous regional showing. Die Linke, “the left wing of the left wing”, proved a dark horse surprise, winning over 18% of the vote in the Saarland “without a serious agenda, but with [party founder] Oskar Lafontaine at the helm”, remarks Die Zeit ironically.

What with the Greens breaking the 5% barrier in all three Länder, “every coalition is possible save the one (between liberals, social democrats (SPD) and Greens) SPD chancellor candidate Frank-Walter Steinmeier was counting on” to beat his rival, Angela Merkel, notes Die Zeit. Voter turnout increased in Thuringia and Saarland, and the extreme right has only made it into parliament in Saxony. Much to Die Zeit’s delight, the night of the national Bundestag elections on 27 September “will not be boring” by any means.

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