The Man Who Would Have Been Chancellor

If not for his late and somewhat befuddled response to catastrophic floods in eastern Germany back in August 2002, Edmund Stoiber might well have been Chancellor today. The floods and some convenient anti-Americanism tipped the scales for Gerhard Schroeder, leading to his replacement by Angela Merkel. Yesterday, Stoiber announced that he would step down as Bavaria’s premier and as head of the CSU at the party’s conference in September.
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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.)

Schr?der Strikes Back

What better way to bury the news of your party’s ouster from power in a state it’s ruled for nearly 40 years than to up the ante?

Give this to Chancellor Gerhard Schr?der, he still knows how to dominate the news cycle like no one else in Germany. Angela Merkel didn’t hear the news until she was walking into the TV studios. I just saw Edmund Stoiber hem and haw about who would actually be the opposition candidate for chancellor. Squirming on the end of the moderator’s pointed questions, he was. Could not bring himself to say, “Yes, I support Angela Merkel.” Just couldn’t do it.

And there’s this:
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In comments to an earlier post on neonazi electoral gains in eastern Germany, I noted that Germany’s mainstream right wing Union parties normally respond to this sort of thing with a rightward lurch of their own. And indeed, they are right on schedule.
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