State elections in Germany on Sunday
Now that the election in the Netherlands is over, there is more electoral drama coming up in Germany. Two states are electing a new parliament, and it looks like Chancellor Schröder is in for a drubbing. In the state of Hesse, the incumbent CDU-led government is going to coast to an easy victory. The latest polls even suggest it might take over 50% of the vote. Hesse used to be governed by an SPD-Green coalition until four years ago, when the poor start of the first Schröder government led to the CDU taking over in Hesse. Now that result is likely to be repeated. So this time around, no change in government is expected in Hesse.
The situation is more interesting in Lower Saxony, where the SPD is now in charge. The polls indicate that a change from the SPD to a CDU-FDP coalition is likely. Making such a defeat even more poignant is the fact that Lower Saxony is Schröder's home state. As prime minister of Lower Saxony Schröder launched his bid for the federal chancellorship five years ago. The image of a reformed, young, new kind of social democrat who's in tune with business helped him get elected at a time when the CDU was looking old and out of steam. Defeat for the SPD in Lower Saxony would be personally painful for Schröder. One key indicator to watch is the FDP vote. They need 5% of the vote in order to enter parliament, and if they fail that hurdle, a SPD-Green coaltion might yet be possible.
At the federal level the polls have stabilized with a massive lead for a CDU/FDP coalition.
Posted by qsi at January 28, 2003 11:42 PM
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If the Social Democrats are defeated by a large enough margin, they might start thinking about replacing Schroeder. Chancellors who have turned into electoral poison are usually replaced during their terms by one way or the other (the smaller party in the coalition switces sides [not very likely in case of the Greens, though] of their own parties come up with somebody else).