Germany’s ruling parties are reeling from their second electoral upset in a fortnight, after voters in a key state abandoned them in droves. The result in the central state of Hesse could plunge both parties of Angela Merkel’s coalition government into renewed crises. Preliminary final results from a regional election seen as decisive for the future of Germany’s increasingly wobbly coalition showed Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) slumping to 27%, the party’s worst showing in the state since 1966 and a drop of 11 percentage points since Hesse last went to the polls in 2013. Yet the CDU was at pains to present the result as a success. The state’s CDU-Green coalition has scraped a majority, putting an end to speculation over the future of the CDU state premier and close Merkel ally, Volker Bouffier. With tensions running high in the CDU, some members have implied that if Bouffier falls, Merkel may struggle if she stands for re-election as party leader at its conference in December.
Articles about voting issues in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Germany: Bavarian election: Voters deal blow to Merkel’s allies, projected results show | The Washington Post
Voters in the southern German heartland of Bavaria dealt a stinging blow Sunday to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative allies, humbling a party that has governed for decades while boosting either political flank in an election defined by polarized opinions about immigration. The dramatic loss of support for the Christian Social Union (CSU), sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), scrambled politics in a region that has been one of the most politically stable in Europe. Votes for the Bavarian state parliament have rarely been competitive in modern lifetimes, with the CSU crafting a “laptops to lederhosen” approach that coupled its support for high-tech industry with its embrace of traditional culture. For decades, the CSU came as close as Western Europe gets to a state party.
Angela Merkel’s conservative partners in Bavaria have had their worst election performance for more than six decades, in a humiliating state poll result that is likely to further weaken Germany’s embattled coalition government. The Christian Social Union secured 37.2% of the vote, preliminary results showed, losing the absolute majority in the prosperous southern state it had had almost consistently since the second world war. The party’s support fell below 40% for the first time since 1954. Markus Söder, the prime minister of Bavaria, called it a “difficult day” for the CSU, but said his party had a clear mandate to form a government. Among the main victors was the environmental, pro-immigration Green party, which as predicted almost doubled its voter share to 17.5% at the expense of the Social Democratic party (SPD), which lost its position as the second-biggest party, with support halving to 9.7%.
It’s hardly a secret that the Alternative for Germany party (known as the AfD in German) is a huge fan of Vladimir Putin. Unlike other German parties, the anti-immigrant group is prone to vocally endorsing the Russian president and his policies, both at home and abroad. And the appreciation is clearly mutual. But this time, the AfD’s cozying to Moscow may backfire. The German parliament has opened an administrative inquiry into a trip to Moscow that three leading AfD members took in early 2017, according to German media. Earlier this month, it emerged that an unidentified Russian sponsor paid for the private jet that flew them back to Berlin, footing a €25,400 bill. The AfD delegation was made up of then-party leader Frauke Petry, her husband Marcus Pretzell, who at the time was also a key party figure, and Julian Flak, a lawmaker in Saxony’s state parliament. Both Mr. Pretzell and Mr. Flak have confirmed the reports. However, they declined to say which person or organization paid for the trip.
Facebook said on Friday it would roll out a new feature designed to make political advertising more transparent in time for a key German regional election, as it seeks to restore trust after a massive data breach. The social network has been at the centre of controversy over suspected Russian manipulation of the 2016 U.S. presidential election via its platform, and the leak of personal data of 87 million users to a political consultancy that advised Donald Trump’s team. On Friday, a German data privacy regulator said it was opening non-compliance procedures against Facebook in relation to the data leak to the consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, that was exposed a month ago.
Germany said on Wednesday hackers had breached its government computer network with an isolated attack that had been brought under control and which security officials were investigating. A spokesman for the German Interior Ministry said the affected government agencies had taken appropriate measures to investigate the incident and protect data. “The attack was isolated and brought under control within the federal administration,” which oversees government computer networks, he said in a statement, adding that the authorities were addressing the incident“with high priority and significant resources”.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives on Monday approved a coalition deal with the Social Democrats (SPD), bringing closer a fourth term for her as well as an end to political limbo in Europe’s preeminent power. The more formidable hurdle to ending a five-month political impasse comes next week, however. On March 4, results of a binding postal vote by members of the centre-left SPD will be announced and they are far less certain. “Now I can only say to the SPD that I hope many members feel the same responsibility for giving Germany a good government,” Merkel said in an interview with broadcaster RTL. “I think we can achieve a lot together for Germany and its people.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged her Christian Democrats (CDU) on Monday to approve a coalition deal with the Social Democrats (SPD), a step that would bring her closer to a fourth term. The more formidable hurdle to ending a five-month political impasse in Europe’s largest economy comes next week, however. On March 4, results of a binding postal vote by members of the center-left SPD will be announced and they are far less certain. The CDU party congress follows Merkel’s announcement of her picks for a new, younger cabinet intended to revive the party, which has been riven by disagreements over how to respond to the Alternative for Germany (AfD) since losing votes to the far right party in national elections in September.
Members of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) began voting on Tuesday on whether to enter a new coalition with Angela Merkel’s conservatives, a postal ballot which could scupper the chancellor’s chances of a fourth term in office. If the SPD’s nearly half a million members reject the deal, a new election or a minority government in Europe’s biggest economy is likely. Either would be a first for post-war Germany, now without a formal government for nearly five months. The result of the vote, which runs to March 2, is wide open and will be announced on March 4. That will be the same day Italy goes to the polls in a vote seen as too tough to call, as European politics splinter after years of austerity and waves of migrant arrivals from war-torn Syria and elsewhere.
Germany: Merkel passes major hurdle after party leaders agree on new coalition | The Washington Post
After a grueling all-night negotiating session, Germany’s two leading parties reached agreement Wednesday to once again form a governing coalition, after inconclusive elections in September left the country mired in political gridlock. The four months of wrangling and repeated failures to come up with a coalition have weakened Germany, and particularly Chancellor Angela Merkel, at a time when Europe is seeking a strong leader. The talks between Merkel’s bloc — an alliance of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union — and the Social Democrats (SPD) extended past a self-imposed Sunday deadline and a two-day grace period into Wednesday morning, when party leaders finally overcame differences on key issues such as health care and labor policy.