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    Yes, yes – UK politics is very interesting... *snore*
    But right now, Germany is much more interesting :p:

    Apparently the PDS, formerly the SED (dictatorship of East Germany), is really pissed off about loosing all their seats in the Bundestag to the Green party, so now they have been discussing joining forces with all the leftist and alternative parties in the whole of Germany. And it seems they're moving forward, apparently the new union will be formed before the next election and they're predicted to get 20% of the votes (according the infratest, the most important body for election predictions). That means they might end up getting 20% of the seats in the Bundesttag, which would mean that in order to form a government either the conservatives and the labour party would have to work together (with the ultra conservatives of the Bavarian national party in the most important positions in government) or the labour party and the communists. The labour party already has a ruling coalition with the PDS in Berlin, but has said that they will never form one with the PDS in parliament.
    A coalition with the conservatives would leave the Green party (currently in government with the labour party) and the communists in opposition.

    It's bad enough if you have the labour party and the conservatives bickering, but conservatives vs. communists ... I predict a lot of heavy fighting in the Bundestag .
    Something tells me that this will have an influence on the election campaign, especially that of the labour party (SPD). Will they try and get those dissatisfied leftists back on their side by re-vamping their party programme and making it more socialist (they tried to show themselves as being more socialist than they are by getting Schröder to step down from head of party and appointing the socialist Müntefering instead, but that didn't help much, as now Müntefering is forced to make cuts in the social budget and has lost much of his before quite substantial support from the left leaning voters), or will they go in the opposite direction knowing they can only hope for a coalition with the conservatives in order to survive? If they try to be more socalist they will scare away their centrist supporters and the conservatives might gain enough strength to form a government with only the help of the liberal party which would leave the labour party out of government.

    Yeah, yeah, I know... leftist unions tend to break up easily, because people can't find a consensus. It's certainly true that the left more often splits up than the right. Both extremes believe in their ideals, but you're more likely to find a consensus among conservatives than leftists, just because of the fact that conservatives advocate 'no change' really or 'let's go back to what we had before', where as you have new concepts no one has experienced before when it comes to the left - normally. It's a bit reversed in east Germany (take the communist/labour alliance in Berlin for instance, a very stable government, which people voted for because they wanted things to be the way they were before capitalism, that is those who voted communist wanted jobs again). In east Germany the communists have remained a very stable force, the PDS would be taking a lead role in this, other parties would in effect be joining forces under the lead of the PDS, which as I said, is quite stable. Of course the union may still crumble, it most likely will eventually, but there's not a bad chance the PDS will be able to lend it a large measure of stability. They have two experienced top politicians ready to lead this campain: Gregor Gysi of the PDS and former (now disgraced) labour party politician Oskar Lafontaine (who has the support of the dissatisfied labour voters).
    On top of that the right is pretty split up in Germany and I hope it remains that way. I dread to think what might happen if the neo Nazis joined force. They'd most likely get enough votes to be in parliament if that were to happen.


    Anyway, Germany's political landscape is very interesting at the moment.
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    I heard that the CDU looks as if its gonna take power next time.
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    (Original post by thebucketwoman)
    I heard that the CDU looks as if its gonna take power next time.
    Yeah, it most likely will - but the question is will they have enough votes to form a government without the need of forming a coalition? This has only happened a few times in history that they've had a majority and even then they formed a coalition with the liberals anyway.
    Just if you have the most seats in parliament doesn't mean you can form a government. If the SPD doesn't loose too many votes and the communist union does gain 20% then even if the conservatives had more seats, they may still end up in opposition if the SPD and the communists were to form an coalition, as you need more than 50% of the seats in order to be in government.
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    Their unemployment hasn't been so bad since Weimar, so I'm not surprised that all the freaks are coming out to march again - ready to take advantage of all the suffering. It's not just Communists, the Nazis are back, too.

    An interesting article in the Times suggested that any sensible government would withdraw from the single currency, since having no control over national inflation makes national welfare programmes unworkable and damaging.
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    It's all hypothetical though isn't it? Things are bad in Germany, but the problem for this new PDS-Green union is that most of their support will just come from the East where things are hardest. Although last time in the general elections in Germany the SPD somehow held off the CDU (probably because Stoiber, the CDU leader was so uncharismatic and was devoid of any personality), this time Angela Merkel has a lot more support and she will probably become the first ever woman German Chancellor.

    Also remember that:

    "Labour Party" is called the SPD
    "Conservatives" are called CDU or in Bavaria, CSU (I think)
    Their version of the Lib Dems is basically the Free Democrats, although they're a lot smaller than our liberal party. The Greens are as popular as them I think.

    I can't remember what the official name for the Neo-Nazis is now. You need 5% of votes nationally to get into the Reichstag, and I think they could well do that. However they might loses votes to a reinvigorated CDU.
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    There is no name for the official neo nazi party, because there is no one national neo nazi party (thank god!). There are just local ones. That's why they won't make the 5% - they'd only be able to do that if they had a strong national party, or a union similar to that which the PDS is after, headed by the NPD. But this union is a tricky thing - the PDS is having to get special permission from the highest court in Germany for this to go ahead - they would not give the Neo Nazis permission to do the same I hope.

    You are totally correct JonD... in the East there is huge support for the left, but just as much for the neo nazis if not more. These people do not have a long democratic tradition - damnit, they don't know much about democracy at all. It's the east that will decide this election and they are going to vote extreme, that's for sure. Luckily the neo nazis are not as organised as the communists.

    The CSU is the Bavarian version of the CDU and ultra conservative. They are supposedly separate parties, but they always form coalitions and work together very closely. Stoiber lost the last election because he backed the Iraq war (although he was careful in doing so) and Schröder attacked the US and was against any war. If it had not been for the war in Iraq, the CDU would have won no doubt. Of course there were a lot of people who didn't fancy the ultra conservative CSU candidate Stoiber.
    The problem with Merkel is that she really is uncharismatic and was devoid of any personality.

    The Greens are currently more popular than the Liberals (the FDP, basically they are economic liberals, so they advocate extreme capitalism, not like the liberal democrats really).

    Lol, and it's the Bundestag, not the Reichstag

    edit: oh, and no one is talking of a Green/PDS union! The Greens may be on the left side of the political scale, but they would not join forces with the PDS! They don't need to anyway, the Greens are happy in government at the moment. They will want to stay there, but there is not much chance of that happening really.
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    If I was German I'd probably vote Free Democrat I think.

    Who would you vote for?
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    (Original post by FarnhamBoy)
    If I was German I'd probably vote Free Democrat I think.

    Who would you vote for?
    In the last election I gave all my 32 votes or however many I had to the German Green party Bündnis 90 Die Grünen. If I were eligible to vote in the German general election (which I'm not), I'd vote Green again. Fischer is one hell of a politician and he should be Kanzler. In the last election the majority of the German population wanted him to be Kanzler too (if you go by the pre-election polls - Schröder came second by far, then Stoiber, only a few percent ), but as he's only in the Green party, so that'll never happen and he wont change his party just to get the Kanzler seat, that's part of why people respect him. This man actually has ideals.
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    PDS aren't Communists for a start.

    And I thought their share of the vote had increased year on year? I believe they are the first party in Laende such as Brandenburg?

    Good luck to this new Union of the left *Pulls on DDR t-shirt*

    And I think the Neo-Nazis are the NPD?
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    (Original post by Northumbrian)
    PDS aren't Communists for a start.

    And I thought their share of the vote had increased year on year? I believe they are the first party in Laende such as Brandenburg?

    Good luck to this new Union of the left *Pulls on DDR t-shirt*

    And I think the Neo-Nazis are the NPD?
    And what would you call the PDS? I know they are not the German communist party - I mean that was outlawed, but I think if you take a look at the manifesto of the PDS ... well, it is extremely socialist and they are the former party that ruled the German Democratic Republic while is was communist. So uh... that's why I call them communist.

    If you take a look at the destribution of seats in the current Bundestag you will find that the PDS does not have a single seat (well, ok - 2, but that doesn't count ) - for the first time since the reunion of Germany the PDS as a party is not present on the level of national politics. Believe me, they have lost votes to the Greens. They have (nearlly?) always failed to get more than 5% of the German votes (of course, because this party only exists in east Germany), but if you have for example 4% of the votes you can still have those 4% of the total seats in parliament, but only if you win 3 seats directly [3 Direktmandate] (like winning three constituencies). Anyway, last year they lost those crucial seats to the Greens, who managed to gain support in East Berlin and robbed them of a 'directly elected seat', leaving the PDS with less than 5% of the vote and only 2 directly elected seats. So now the PDS is not in the Bundestag at all - well two seats in parliament, but that's negligible, they are not really present as a party, those two act as independants.
    So while they have control of some local parliaments, they are not acting on a national level anymore, which is why they need this new union, so that they can gain the support of other leftists in the other parts of Germany and get more than 5%. And there are a lot of other leftists it seems if you believe infratest (which I would, they are quite good at predicting election outcomes in the West German states), but who just don't bother voting communist because they don't want to waste their vote on some small local party, or who vote for a small local party that has no chance in hell of getting into the Bundestag. If they knew that if they voted for these small parties those votes would count towards helping the PDS...

    The NPD is a neo nazi party, but it's a local party for the north of Germany really, in the south you have Die Republikaner etc... but the NPD is quite large, but as I said they'd need to the votes of those in the south who vote Republikaner or other such parties.
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    To be fair to Labour, the German Social Democrats (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands) are far too the left of Labour. In fact, they're far to the left of Old Labour. I'd argue that even the Christian Democrats were to the left of Labour when they were in power. My confidence in the German political system is not high right now. It's conceivable that socialist/communist parties will get 50% of the national vote, and fascists another 10%. What will happen if the German economy becomes as bad as it was in the late 20s and early 30s? Another victory for the NSDAP?
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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    To be fair to Labour, the German Social Democrats (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands) are far too the left of Labour. In fact, they're far to the left of Old Labour. I'd argue that even the Christian Democrats were to the left of Labour when they were in power. My confidence in the German political system is not high right now. It's conceivable that socialist/communist parties will get 50% of the national vote, and fascists another 10%. What will happen if the German economy becomes as bad as it was in the late 20s and early 30s? Another victory for the NSDAP?
    The German economy is not quite that bad yet, but they do have more unemployed now than they did during the time of the Weimar Republic as someone pointed out. The reason this is not such a big problem is that Germany now has a larger population, so there are more people with a job than there were during the crisis years of Weimar and there was no such social security system back then comparable to what you have now. Back then if you were unemployed you were in deep, deep trouble, now the unemployed are not as desperate as they were back then. But more importantly people greatly distrusted the government of Weimar, they had no idea about democracy, no long democratic traditions, like the East Germans now they are very susceptible to extremist propaganda. Still, if there were a neo nazi party similar to the NSDAP now with someone like Jörg Heiner (yeah, another Austrian) as a leader, I think that maybe that party would indeed get into the Bundestag and cause a great uproar. Luckily though the Neo Nazis are not organised at all and we can only hope it stays that way. As it is I don't think there could ever be a repeat of what happened back then, people have hopefully learned a lesson. People always say that it was the stupid workers following him, but the academics did too and it was the middle and upper class that handed the power to him - and I think that those people would not do the same today under any circumstances.
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    (Original post by Adarah)
    Yeah, it most likely will - but the question is will they have enough votes to form a government without the need of forming a coalition?
    The polling data I've seen so far from friends in the CDU seems to indicate that a CDU/CSU overall majority isn't out of the question.
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    So uh... that's why I call them communist.
    Party of Democratic Socialism pretty much means they could be democratic socialists. (I'm in a grouchy mood by the way)

    f they knew that if they voted for these small parties those votes would count towards helping the PDS...
    Thanks for the explanation :smile:

    In fact, they're far to the left of Old Labour.
    Utterlly ridiculous comment! Look at the attacks on welfare for a start! Look at the people leaving like La Fontaine. And schroeder's campaign slogan last time was 'Der Kanzler der Mitte' which isn't actually very socialist but smells a bit like the 'radical centre' a la Blair.
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    (Original post by Adarah)
    The German economy is not quite that bad yet, but they do have more unemployed now than they did during the time of the Weimar Republic as someone pointed out.
    That is false. The amount of people without jobs right now is roughly the same as during the late Weimar period, but you forget that there are more people living in Germany than back then. Unemmployment in Germany was over 30% and underemployment well over 50% during the Depression. Now the unemployment rate in western Germany is ~8% and in eastern Germany ~20%.

    The reason this is not such a big problem is that Germany now has a larger population, so there are more people with a job than there were during the crisis years of Weimar and there was no such social security system back then comparable to what you have now. Back then if you were unemployed you were in deep, deep trouble, now the unemployed are not as desperate as they were back then. But more importantly people greatly distrusted the government of Weimar, they had no idea about democracy, no long democratic traditions, like the East Germans now they are very susceptible to extremist propaganda. Still, if there were a neo nazi party similar to the NSDAP now with someone like Jörg Heiner (yeah, another Austrian) as a leader, I think that maybe that party would indeed get into the Bundestag and cause a great uproar. Luckily though the Neo Nazis are not organised at all and we can only hope it stays that way. As it is I don't think there could ever be a repeat of what happened back then, people have hopefully learned a lesson. People always say that it was the stupid workers following him, but the academics did too and it was the middle and upper class that handed the power to him - and I think that those people would not do the same today under any circumstances.
    Considering that easterners make up a quarter of the country, you can't blame them for extreme right and left wing parties getting as much as 30% of the vote. Last time I checked, the people choose their leaders, not the academics and the upper class.

    (Original post by Northumbrian)
    Utterlly ridiculous comment! Look at the attacks on welfare for a start! Look at the people leaving like La Fontaine. And schroeder's campaign slogan last time was 'Der Kanzler der Mitte' which isn't actually very socialist but smells a bit like the 'radical centre' a la Blair.
    Instead of listening to their rhetoric, you should look at their actions. And keep in mind that the German political spectrum is far to the left of Britain's, and just because a party attempts to move it slightly to the right doesn't mean that it wants to be as right-wing as Britain.
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    (Original post by Northumbrian)
    Party of Democratic Socialism pretty much means they could be democratic socialists. (I'm in a grouchy mood by the way)
    Yeah, like you might think the German Democratic Republic was actually democratic, or what? :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    That is false. The amount of people without jobs right now is roughly the same as during the late Weimar period, but you forget that there are more people living in Germany than back then. Unemmployment in Germany was over 30% and underemployment well over 50% during the Depression. Now the unemployment rate in western Germany is ~8% and in eastern Germany ~20%.
    :s: that's just what I said! There are just as many unemployed if not more as there were then - in millions, in actual fact. But not in terms of percentage of the population, because there are more people living in Germany now. ("but they do have more unemployed now than they did during the time of the Weimar Republic as someone pointed out. The reason this is not such a big problem is that Germany now has a larger population ...")
    I'm sorry if I didn't make myself clear, I'm not very good at explaining
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    Instead of listening to their rhetoric, you should look at their actions. And keep in mind that the German political spectrum is far to the left of Britain's, and just because a party attempts to move it slightly to the right doesn't mean that it wants to be as right-wing as Britain.
    But you said that the current SPD is far to the left of British Old Labour. This is vastly inaccurate.

    Yeah, like you might think the German Democratic Republic was actually democratic, or what?
    PDS are broader than simply left over Communists. And many of those communists are 'reformed' anyway.
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    (Original post by Northumbrian)
    PDS are broader than simply left over Communists. And many of those communists are 'reformed' anyway.
    True, they are not the exactly same party they were, but I think you'll find that not that many years have passed since the fall of the wall that not all members of the old party have been replaced. The party in large still consists of the same members as before (at least in the more important positions high up), whatever they may call themselves or say their party stands for I still think that many in it hang onto the 'old values' (they cannot say they wish to abolish the German constitution in favour of a communist one for example, as that would make their party illegal and it would be banned by the constitution court in Karlsruhe). I may be mistaken of course and everyone is totally 'reformed', but I'm not that optimistic I'm afraid. Similar to Russia really... they have democracy, but Putin and his party often acts a bit like democracy doesn't really exist there, if you know what I mean
 
 
 
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