Angie 2.0 – March 26, 2006?

Update (2/11/05, 01:30 CET) – Maybe Angie 2.0 is actually a guy: two East German are now heading Germany’s biggest parties. The SPD crisis management team agreed late Tuesday evening to offer Brandenburg’s state premier Matthias Platzeck (German biography) the party’s chairmanship. Absent any surprises, this nomination will probably be confirmed by the upcoming party conference.

Update (1/11/05, 16:19) below the fold.

Does everybody really get a second chance? Or will it just be Angela Merkel? Not too surprisingly, Edmund Stoiber was the first to realise that the SPD’s power reshuffle after Franz Müntefering’s sort-of instant resignation, even in case a successor will be named quickly (currently, the only two candidates allegedly under consideration are the state premiers Kurt Beck and Mathias Platzeck), is leading to a situation in which the arithmetics of a grand coalition don’t really add up anymore, not simply because coalition talks with a SPD delegation headed by a combination of acting and designated leaders will suffer from a relative affluence in cooks dealing with the broth.

Thus, there are already sporadic reports (here Rheinische Post pre-release (in German)) about the CDU’s leadership silently beginning preparations for yet another round of elections to be held on March 26, when there are also state and/or local elections to be held in Rheinland-Pfalz, Baden-Württemberg, and Sachsen-Anhalt. It’s impossible to identify the precise intent of such strategic leaks at this point – yet they demonstrate that too much was at stake for the Nahles/Müntefering nomination to have been an accident.

With a CDU now more than ever united behind Merkel and (also for that reason) unlikely to repeat the mistakes of the last campaign, the SPD’s left may have, should there indeed be another election, finally achieved what it has probably been up to for a long time: get rid of any responsibility.

Interestingly, the usually quite sensible Susanne Gaschke, writing at Die Zeit online (in German), seems to believe that that’s a good thing – for the party and the country. But this time she’s wrong.

Update (1/11/05, 16:19) Spiegel Online (in German) reports that Kurt Beck, deputy SPD chairman and state premier of Rhineland-Palatinate, has confirmed that Franz Müntefering has agreed to serve as vice-chancellor and labour minister in the next government. He also stated that he and Brandenburg’s state premier Mathias Platzeck will work towards presenting a joint recommendation for a new chairman as early as tomorrow.

7 thoughts on “Angie 2.0 – March 26, 2006?

  1. If the CDU starts another election, expect them to be trounced. The conservatives did not get a majority last time, and they won’t get one at second try.

    At the moment — after Münte and Schröder are gone — the only thing in the way of a left red-green-red coalition is the leadership of the left. Retire Lafontaine and maybe Gysi and it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.

  2. Indeed. Germany has a structural leftwing majority, either counting the FDP as centre-left or the Linke in with the SPD and Greens. The fact that this produced a conservative chancellor is exactly why they just eliminated Müntefering.

    Interesting that Kurt “Look – FDP in my coalition” Beck is in the running…

  3. I must confess, I am flabbergasted about Müntefering. He played the great coalition chess play so well, is apparently unchallenged as Schröder’s Nachfolger, and… he kills himself at a first setback within the SPD-party structure? I cannot believe that one new Nahles in his coffin makes him jump into it head over heels. Something is lying behind. Overstressed? Subtle provocation of Stoiber? preparing a comeback for Schröder? All’s up for guess…

  4. TH & Alex,

    I disagree that there is a structural left-wing majority in Germany. As I wrote before the elections, the CDU apparently wasn’t intellectually ready for government when it was hit by the Schröder announcement, thus all the mistakes they made along the way. It won’t happen again.

    >Kurt Beck is not the stuff chancellors are made >of.
    >I am afraid it is as simple as that.

    Oliver, I agree. Although he’s a fan of the 1. FC Kaiserslautern, he’s a good state premier for Rheinland-Pfalz, and I personally like him a lot.

  5. Franz Müntefering has agreed to serve as vice-chancellor

    Which means that the new chairman is not expected to go to Berlin. Enthusiastic support for the grand coalition this is not.

  6. If I were the SPD left, I imagine I would be thinking something like this:

    1. It is possible if the coalition doesn’t in fact occur and there is a new election quickly that one of two things will happen:

    a. The Linkspartei will go into the election without the preemptive declaration that they won’t be part of a coalition, which could lead to a red/green/even-redder coalition.

    b. If not, then sufficiently many voters, having registered their protest by voting Linkspartei, will return to SPD or Green to provide an SPD/Green plurality over CDU/CSU/FDP, which would allow a red/green coalition with tacit (abstention) Linskpartei support.

    I.e., there is a possibility that with a quick new election, without Merkel becoming Chancellor, of a left government.

    2. If Merkel is allowed to become Chancellor, she will be in the driver’s seat. The coalition terms will state that she won’t do certain things. Which means she can break up the coalition at her convenience by doing them. So she can time any subsequent election. Further, once she’s Chancellor, the spell is broken. People will see that she can be Chancellor.

    I.e., if Merkel is allowed to become Chancellor, she will win the next election.

    Thus, the choice is between some chance of winning the next election, if one can sabotage the grand coalition, and no chance of winning the next election, if the grand coalition goes through.

    Ergo, one should try to sabotage it.

    And they did.

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