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Angela Merkel prepares for second electoral disaster in Hesse Angela Merkel prepares for second electoral disaster in Hesse
(about 1 month later)
Germany’s ruling parties are bracing for a second electoral disaster within a fortnight as polls for Sunday’s regional election in Hesse suggest that voters will punish Angela Merkel’s shaky coalition government.Germany’s ruling parties are bracing for a second electoral disaster within a fortnight as polls for Sunday’s regional election in Hesse suggest that voters will punish Angela Merkel’s shaky coalition government.
Sunday’s vote could plunge Germany’s grand coalition into a fresh crisis, with polls showing a nosedive in support for both Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and coalition partner Social Democrats (SPD), reflecting a nationwide trend.Sunday’s vote could plunge Germany’s grand coalition into a fresh crisis, with polls showing a nosedive in support for both Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and coalition partner Social Democrats (SPD), reflecting a nationwide trend.
Both parties are trying to play down the significance of the regional election, which comes just two weeks after a catastrophic poll in Bavaria widely blamed on the failings of the Berlin government.Both parties are trying to play down the significance of the regional election, which comes just two weeks after a catastrophic poll in Bavaria widely blamed on the failings of the Berlin government.
Home to Germany’s financial centre, Frankfurt am Main, Hesse is a former swing state long seen as a bellwether for national politics. For the past 20 years it has been ruled by various CDU-led coalitions. But now polls have the CDU plummeting to 26%, a drop of 12 points since 2013.Home to Germany’s financial centre, Frankfurt am Main, Hesse is a former swing state long seen as a bellwether for national politics. For the past 20 years it has been ruled by various CDU-led coalitions. But now polls have the CDU plummeting to 26%, a drop of 12 points since 2013.
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The result would spell an end to the state’s current CDU-Green coalition and possibly topple the CDU state premier and close Merkel ally, Volker Bouffier.The result would spell an end to the state’s current CDU-Green coalition and possibly topple the CDU state premier and close Merkel ally, Volker Bouffier.
Such an outcome is unlikely to trigger an immediate open revolt against Merkel’s leadership within her party, but dark mutterings from CDU MPs in the German press have implied that it may cost the chancellor vital votes when she stands for re-election as party leader at its conference in early December.Such an outcome is unlikely to trigger an immediate open revolt against Merkel’s leadership within her party, but dark mutterings from CDU MPs in the German press have implied that it may cost the chancellor vital votes when she stands for re-election as party leader at its conference in early December.
Noticeably irritated by the constant onslaught of reports hailing the end of her government, Merkel has attempted to downplay the significance of the regional vote for her party, government and chancellorship. “Not every regional election can be stylised into a little national election,” Merkel told regional broadcaster Hessische Rundfunk while accompanying Bouffier on the campaign trail this week. “That’s wrong. There’s a lot at stake for the citizens in Hesse.”Noticeably irritated by the constant onslaught of reports hailing the end of her government, Merkel has attempted to downplay the significance of the regional vote for her party, government and chancellorship. “Not every regional election can be stylised into a little national election,” Merkel told regional broadcaster Hessische Rundfunk while accompanying Bouffier on the campaign trail this week. “That’s wrong. There’s a lot at stake for the citizens in Hesse.”
Yet Merkel has more to worry about than a revolt from within her own party. A bad result on Sunday for the SPD could have even swifter consequences for the chancellor. Polls have the Social Democrats tied with the Greens on second place on 21%, a slump of nine points since Hesse last went to the polls.Yet Merkel has more to worry about than a revolt from within her own party. A bad result on Sunday for the SPD could have even swifter consequences for the chancellor. Polls have the Social Democrats tied with the Greens on second place on 21%, a slump of nine points since Hesse last went to the polls.
Such a loss in a former SPD heartland would be a serious blow to the party, particularly so soon after the result in Bavaria. It could be the shock that finally prompts the SPD leadership to yield to party voices urging it to withdraw from Merkel’s coalition in Berlin, forcing national elections.Such a loss in a former SPD heartland would be a serious blow to the party, particularly so soon after the result in Bavaria. It could be the shock that finally prompts the SPD leadership to yield to party voices urging it to withdraw from Merkel’s coalition in Berlin, forcing national elections.
“The grand coalition is a symptom of a problem that’s bigger than itself,” Kevin Kühnert, head of the SPD’s youth wing, told Der Spiegel in a recent interview. “But if we have the feeling the coalition can’t be saved and that no substantive work is possible, then we have to draw a line underneath it. At some point we have to decide on that.”“The grand coalition is a symptom of a problem that’s bigger than itself,” Kevin Kühnert, head of the SPD’s youth wing, told Der Spiegel in a recent interview. “But if we have the feeling the coalition can’t be saved and that no substantive work is possible, then we have to draw a line underneath it. At some point we have to decide on that.”
As in Bavaria, Hesse’s booming economy and low unemployment figures have not prevented voters flocking to the far right. The anti-immigrant Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is currently polling behind the top three parties at 13%, enough for the party to comfortably enter Hesse’s parliament for the first time.But, as in Bavaria, Hesse’s big winners are set once again to be the Greens, who have doubled their support in the state and are polling at their highest nationwide since Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011. If predictions play out, the party could potentially opt to cut the CDU out of power in Hesse and install a leftwing coalition under Germany’s second-ever Green state premier.As in Bavaria, Hesse’s booming economy and low unemployment figures have not prevented voters flocking to the far right. The anti-immigrant Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is currently polling behind the top three parties at 13%, enough for the party to comfortably enter Hesse’s parliament for the first time.But, as in Bavaria, Hesse’s big winners are set once again to be the Greens, who have doubled their support in the state and are polling at their highest nationwide since Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011. If predictions play out, the party could potentially opt to cut the CDU out of power in Hesse and install a leftwing coalition under Germany’s second-ever Green state premier.
GermanyGermany
Angela MerkelAngela Merkel
The far rightThe far right
EuropeEurope
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