Easterners conquer Germany; southerners flee

Brandenburg’s Matthias Platzeck has been tapped to become new leader of the SPD. This means that Germany’s two major parties will both be led by people from the ‘new states’, the former GRD. Franz Müntefering will, however, enter the new cabinet as planned.

The CSU’s Ede Stoiber won’t be going to Prussia, though. He has decided to remain in Munich as Bavarian prime minister. Michael Glos will get Stoiber’s designated CSU place at the table instead.

Stoiber’s decision can only mean he thinks that the grand coalition will fail and that it would therefore be better to stay unconnected with it. Whether he is right about this is, of course, another matter.

(No links, sorry. This is all from the ARD teletext. I’ll try to stick in links to fuller treatments later in the day.)

6 thoughts on “Easterners conquer Germany; southerners flee

  1. Whether he is right about this is, of course, another matter.

    He now has a large interest to make sure that he will have been right. And he is a member of the negotiating team.

  2. So what happens if the coalition falls apart before it exists? As I understand it, there’s supposed to be a vote Nov 22 in the Bundestag to ratify it. Suppose that vote doesn’t take place or fails. What then?

  3. These are two different questions.
    I’ll answer the easy one first.

    If the vote fails, the constitutional machine has been set into motion nevertheless. Parliament has 14 days to elect a chancellor after that. If it doesn’t, the president has 7 days to decide between a minority government and new elections.
    In practice a repeatable failure to vote in Merkel would almost certainly lead to new elections.

    Now for the second part, no vote taking place.
    The constitution says how a chancellor must be elected and under which conditions. However it sets no time limit on when the process must be started. My reading of the constitution is that the president may start the process when he pleases. So it seems to me that it depends on the president’s patience.

    There’s no precedent for this situation. However it seems improbable that the president would start the process if the party leaders ask for a reasonable amount of time. Eventually the president would probably in effect issue an ultimatum.

  4. Incidentally, I’ve done the calculations.
    If a vote takes place on Nov. 22 and ends up in a dissolution of parliament the last constitutional date for new elections is Feb. 13.

    That means that to meet a date of March, 26, negotiations would have to be stretched to the middle of january. That strikes me as somewhat unlikly.

  5. Interesting that both of the party leaders come from scientific backgrounds. Great way to avoid the stigma of having served communist East Germany…

  6. Ludwig, it is not so surprising as this goes for many of the so-called elite members from the East (with exception of the PDS members of course) – most of them have either a background in natural sciences or … theology.

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