Little Brown Spots

The Frankfurter Allgemeine, whose web site could generally be better organized, gets it right in their main comments on the election of extreme right candidates to state legislatures in Saarland, Brandenburg and Saxony:

We hope the debate that the two big parties were at each other’s throats about after the election in Saarland will not be revived: Who strengthened the extreme right? The SPD, with its program of socio-political insecurity, or the Union [CDU-CSU], which withdrew when things got serious? This debate leads nowhere, because the truth is that voters strengthened the NPD – primarily notorious usual non-voters – and voters will make them weak again, when the profiteers of popular anger have made sufficient fools of themselves

(Rough and ready translation, original is below the fold.)
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The Lafontaine Factor.

In a state election (Landtagswahl) in the Saarland that was widely considered another benchmark for the approval of the German federal government’s reform efforts, particularly of the labour market deregulation programme known as “Hartz IV” – these elections are, often to a significant extent, second order national contests – the Social Democrats have been dealt the predicted crushing defeat, gaining likely just under 30% of the vote, losing about 15% compared to their 1999 result, according to early, but usually very reliable exit poll data from Forschungsgruppe Wahlen, broadcast by ZDF television (German labelled graphics here).

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