Speaking of schadenfreude: Meanwhile, in the German elections

Bild, the German tabloid, shouts: “Powershift! But who with whom?” A few minutes later, the Bild homepage asks: “Merkel loses. Schroeder loses. Who governs us now?”

Deutsche Welle explains it, in English and gives us the election graphics (and check me if I get any of this wrong): Schroeder’s SPD gained at the last minute to come close to the conservative CDU. But neither has enough votes with its preferred partners to form a government. The CDU and the FDP had planned to form a coalition but now can’t: The CDU got 35.3 percent and the FDP 10 percent. No cigar. The SPD got 34.2 percent and its present partner, the Greens, got 8.1 percent. Still no cigar. Schroeder’s present coalition could bring in the FDP but DW says they don’t want to join the left coalition. Also hanging out there are the new Left party (heavied up with former East German leftists) with 8.5 percent and the possibility of a grand coalition of the two opposing big parties.

And we think our election aftermaths are fun to watch.

: David’s Medienkritik predicts a grand coalition but says anything is possible. Heiko Hebig says its scary that so many voted for the former communists of the Left party: “It’s quite scary that almost 4 million voters forgot about communist rule, the wall, suppression of civil liberties and having to wait 10 years for a sub-standard car in East Germany. Go, Trabi, go.” Scott Hanson says that “overhang seats” could play a surprising role for Schroeder.

: Not so fast.

: Here is Der Spiegel’s English-language blog with the latest election news. [via The English Guy]

: LATER: Schroeder is vowing not to form a grand coalition with Merkel. If she can’t form a government and he can with a lower vote total won’t that sound just a little familiar and ironic: Bush took the White House with a lower vote total in 2000. Schroeder would need help from two other parties. Bush needed help from one court.

: Simple Washington Post graphic explains the process.

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  • K

    It’s long ago that I took some studies in comparative government. But I recall that Germany has historically lacked a good way to form governments when no single party had a majority.

    They ought to amend their procedure as follows.

    If there is no majority the smallest party is suspended from voting on forming the goverment or in the legislature for one year. If there is still no majority among the remaining then again the smallest is ousted.

    Things clear up in a hurry by this process.

  • http://unbeknownst.net KirkH

    How in 2005 people are still voting for a party composed of communists(SDP) as a way to increase their standard of living is totally mind blowing. Even though I’m a believer in free markets I was hoping for a Schroeder win here so the ensuing economic collapse would finally put an end to the idea that socialism is more than just a well meaning, outdated relic.

  • penny

    How in 2005 people are still voting for a party composed of communists(SDP) as a way to increase their standard of living is totally mind blowing

    No surprise. We have our share of lame academics who still tout Marxism on many campuses. Of course, paradoxically, the fools never suffered under communism. Irregardless that communism is a failed system by every metric there will always be idiots that defend it.

    It would be interesting to know how many East Germans who lived the horror of communism versus West Germans spared the real horror of communism voted for the SDP. Angela Merkel has East German roots so her conservatism is logical.

    Never mind that Germany because of its socialist pathology is pulling Europe down economically; we have our share of deluded moonbats here.

  • Joost Schuur


    I think you have your parties mixed up. The SPD (not ‘SDP’) are the ‘Social Democratic Party of Germany’. They’re the left/center counterbalance to the right/center CDU/CSU (the ‘conservatives’). The Left Party is the new incarnation of an alliance of former East German ‘communists’ (SED) and disgruntled SPD members who didn’t like their parties shift towards the center.

  • penny

    Thank you, Joost.

  • http://unbeknownst.net KirkH

    Yeah, I guess I’d make a bad journalist :) Though a quick google search shows some contradictory information

    “The German Social Democratic Party (SDP) was established in 1875 with the publication of its Gotha programme. The programme was a mixture of the ideas of Karl Marx and Ferdinand Lasselle. Its originally leaders included Ferdinand Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht.

    Though, according to Wikipedia

    In the Russian sector which later became East Germany, the Social Democratic Party and the Communist Party of Germany were forced to merge to form the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). During the fall of Communist rule in 1989, the SPD was re-established as a separate party in East Germany (1989 as Social Democratic Party, SDP) and then merged with its West German counterpart upon reunification.

  • Ethan

    hey penny, before you go spouting some rebaked talking points on “lame academics,” you might want to check your own grasp of academics: “irregardless” ain’t a word, sweetie. never was. new rule: before you defame college campuses, you actually have to have stepped on a college campus!
    anti-intellectualism is deeply hilarious when it’s perpetuated by dullards.

  • http://unbeknownst.net KirkH

    Hayek, lord of the small-government right, has an interesting insight about the lure of the left. He basically says that smart people believe in Socialism because they have no metric to with which to gauge their own intelligence other than by those who are less intelligent. There is no AI to make the cognorati? realize that they’re not the smartest possible form of intelligence so they’re not aware of the limitations of their own, albeit relatively high, intelligence. So they overvalue and overextend that intelligence to a disbelief in economic freedom as the least flawed path to progress, economic or otherwise. In other words; everything needs to be managed and by god, according to their IQ tests, they’re the most qualified candidates.

    Ethan, criticizing someone’s generalization about liberal bias in academia with “sweetie” isn’t much of a response.

  • http://blog.handelsblatt.de/indiskretion tknuewer

    And furthermore, there’s the Dresden-problem: Because the candidate of the far-right NPD party died short before the election day, one part of Dresden is going to vote at Oct. 2. Because of the complicatet Ueberhang-Mandat-system it may be possible that the SPD will go even with the CDU.

    Exciting days here in Germany…

  • kat

    Ethan–tell that to the people at Princeton.


    adv : regardless; a combination of irrespective and regardless sometimes used humorously

    Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

  • Ethan

    google “irregardless” and “definition” kat

  • http://flamingflivvers.blogspot.com/ Carson Fire

    Ethan, the danger in being pedantic is that you have to set a good example. Ignoring capitalization and punctuation is probably no less sloppy than using the grating variant of regardless.

    And the history of language shows us that constant use of a word like “irregardless” can, unfortunately, give it some standing, even if merely as a dubious but popular bastardization. Punctuation and capitalization mistakes, however, will always be incorrect.