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Germany: voters turn on Merkel’s government


6:26 pm - May 13th 2012

by Owen Tudor    


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The largest state in Germany – North Rhine Westphalia, with 18m people, over a fifth of the German nation – has been voting today and the exit polls suggest that the current minority red-green coalition of the SPD and the Greens will achieve an outright majority, with over 50% of the popular vote.

Exit polls say the Greens remained on 12% and the SDP regained the votes they lost in 2010, rising from 35% to 39%.

But the big story really has to be the continuing decline of Chancellor Merkel’s CDU, who saw their vote decline by a quarter from 35% to 26%.

With Germany’s General Election due next year, this almost makes Merkel’s administration a lame duck, and it can’t even be blamed on the collapse of her coalition partners the FDP (whose vote again held up, as it did last week in Schelswig-Holstein).

In Germany’s most populous state, covering cities like Dusseldorf and Cologne, this is a major blow, and, coupled with Hollande’s ascent to the French Presidency, will put German-led austerity in Europe under increasing pressure this summer.

The 23 May informal summit of EU leaders will not quite see Merkel isolated, but certainly increasingly embattled (by everette).

By the way, a lot of the comment will focus on the entry into yet another state legislature of the ultimate post-modern fringe party, the Pirates, up from 2% to 8%.

But as in Schleswig-Holstein’s regional elections last weekend, their entry into the legislature has seen the left-wing Die Linke party exit the stage.

So yet again, Germany has given only minimal support to the narrative that says voters are abandoning traditional, centrist parties for the extremes.

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About the author
Owen Tudor is an occasional contributor to LC. He is head of the TUC’s European Union and International Relations Department and blogs more regularly at the Touchstone blog.
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Story Filed Under: Europe ,News

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Reader comments


Keynes: When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?

But not Mrs Merkel.

NRW is like Germany’s mid-term election. Whoever is in power at the federal level will lose there.

Me personally, I am always happy for the Green Party.

3. Walter Held

The party has never been called the SDP. It is the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands – SPD.

The rally to the SPD shows that voters have a critical attitude to the austerity programme from Berlin. SPD leader Kraft fought the campaign on the basis of shielding essential areas from cuts and pushing through popular reforms such as abolition of student fees, fees for the last year of kindergarten, school reform etc. Any problems she could blame on Berlin.

The Linke offered just a few extras reforms on top of the SPD’s programme but not enough to justify voting for them. The party is being eclipsed throughout west Germany. How long before a split between east and west occurs?

Walter Held, Germany


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. sunny hundal

    Polls suggest Social Democrats and Greens will win over 50% of vote combined in Germany's largest state election http://t.co/6m32P4xy

  2. DSB StayFresh

    Polls suggest Social Democrats and Greens will win over 50% of vote combined in Germany's largest state election http://t.co/6m32P4xy

  3. Jack Tyrrell Killian

    Polls suggest Social Democrats and Greens will win over 50% of vote combined in Germany's largest state election http://t.co/6m32P4xy

  4. Philip Painter

    Polls suggest Social Democrats and Greens will win over 50% of vote combined in Germany's largest state election http://t.co/6m32P4xy

  5. allan challenger

    Polls suggest Social Democrats and Greens will win over 50% of vote combined in Germany's largest state election http://t.co/6m32P4xy

  6. Silas Dogood

    Polls suggest Social Democrats and Greens will win over 50% of vote combined in Germany's largest state election http://t.co/6m32P4xy

  7. Panda

    Polls suggest Social Democrats and Greens will win over 50% of vote combined in Germany's largest state election http://t.co/6m32P4xy

  8. seddaka

    Polls: tide turning against Merkel's austerity | Liberal Conspiracy: The largest state in Germany ? North Rhine … http://t.co/UpPRclwd

  9. Robert CP

    Polls suggest Social Democrats and Greens will win over 50% of vote combined in Germany's largest state election http://t.co/6m32P4xy

  10. BevR

    Germany: voters turn on Merkel’s government | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/L5ppaDnW via @libcon

  11. Alex Braithwaite

    Germany: voters turn on Merkel’s government | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/lX9U0vld via @libcon





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