Germany is having elections for the Bundestag at the end of September!
But you’d never know it. Walking through the village, driving to the county seat, I haven’t seen a single sign or poster. It barely gets mentioned on TV news. Newspapers, some discussion, but it’s mostly below-the-fold stuff. Nobody’s that excited.
I haven’t lived in Germany long enough to know if this is perfectly normal, or if this is just a particularly drab and dull election. On one hand, maybe it is? We’re in a recession, but neither of the major parties seem to have good solutions. It’s not like the election is going to make a big difference. The parties of the left are so far behind that Merkel is almost certain to be Chancellor again.
On the other hand, it is very much an open question whether we’ll be stuck with another Grand Coalition. My very tentative guess is yes. If the election were held today, the polls say that Merkel and the CDU/CSU would win a mandate to rule (along with their junior partners, the FDP). That’s because the Socialists are way, way down right now — polls show them as low as 20%, which is truly horrible. That’s a recent Stern poll, BTW, which showed the CDU/CSU with 37% and the FDP with 14% — just enough to form a government.
It seems really strange to me that, in the middle of a harsh recession, voters are abandoning the center-left party in droves. Wouldn’t the Socialists normally reap the benefit of voter unhappiness and fear? Yet it’s the stubborn, none-too-charismatic center-right Prime Minister who’s prospering; the worst-case scenario for Merkel is four more years of the same.
That 20%… just brutal. But surely it’s going to tighten as election day approaches? That would be normal, right?
– Okay, I admit that after more than a year here, I still don’t understand German politics.
Comments? Can someone explain this to me?