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 MÃ¼ntefering’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-WÃ¼rttemberg, 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/MÃ¼ntefering 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 MÃ¼ntefering 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.