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German politics xth attempt

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Those of you who live in Germany: to which extent do you associate Steinmeier with Schröder in your mind?

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Franky, not that much. Although I read again today on left-leaning sites how Steinmeier was the architect of the agenda 2010 welfare/pension cuts and always behind Schroeder, in my recollection he was so pale in the early 2000s that I hardly remember anything about him. It is easy to appear pale next to Schröder and Fischer (and Lafo when he was still with them), though, but even from the later stages, other politicians like Clement (the worst), Müntefering and later Steinbrück are more clearly in my recollection and I associate all of them also more clearly with the failure of Social democracy through Blairization than Steinmeier.

Only when Steinmeier became the unlucky candidate for the 2009 elections I recall that he tried to emulate the blustering, virile style and speech of Schröder. This election yielded the worst result of the Social democrats in postwar Germany, so another uncommon thing about Steinmeier as president will be that someone who totally failed when he tried to get elected to some "real" position becomes president a few years later, I don't think that applied to any of the earlier presidents.

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Steinmeier was one of Schröder's closest associates, first in Hanover, then in Berlin. I, too, wonder, how this will affect the coming elections. The SPD rose spectacularly in the opinion polls after Schulz was named as their candidate for chancellor, allegedly because Gabriel was to closely associated with Schröder and the Agenda 2010. But now they make Steinmeier president?

Edited by Loge

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No, more like because Gabriel is a total buffoon. Gabriel has a hard time getting taken seriously, and he is rather short tempered. So Gabriel was his own biggest problem.

The new president will probably have close to zero impact on the election. Here's the reason. The president is a representative position in Germany. Steinmeier is really well liked/respected. His job is basically to hold a speech  on christmas, and to put his John Hancock under passed laws and hand over official appointment (and dimiss) certificats for the cabinet members. And otherwise act as some moral figure in a non-partisan way. Basically, the German counterpart to the English Queen. So there's little to no chance, you will see him on the campaign trail, because that is really in absolute contrast to the job describtion (non-partisan). Anyway, his problems with his past electoral defeat against Merkel was twofold. First he lacked the charisma to win an election. Listening to him was like watching paint dry. And secondly he really isn't workign that well as an attack dog. So no need to bring Schröder into the mix for him to lose.

So either secretary of state or President were like the two positions he is most suited for temperament wise. And it was a bit more than backroom dealings that got him this position. It was more like Gabriel in one of his few acutally bright moments, simply put forward his name in public and stood by it. Like I mentioned before, Steinmeier is very well respected. Merkel and Seehofer lacked a good alternative. So they had very little choice but to play along. 

As for the rise in the opinion polls after Schulz on top of the ticket. I think this is a temporary bump in opinion polls. Mainly because he is a bit of unknown, and because he is not Gabriel. I guess we have to wait and see, what happens in a few months with the polls.

Edited by Notone

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I also suspect that the Schulz bump will be temporary. I admit that I had not even expected that much. I was also probably wrong about one reason for the Schulz nomination: I thought that this was mainly Gabriel trying to avoid a horrendous defeat by all means so he put Schulz forward to become defeated so that Gabriel would at least have a chance for some comeback in a few years.

In any case, the bump might last long enough to make the election at least somewhat exciting and not a completely done deal long before. The AfD might self-destruct to some extent (they are divided about the far right Höcke at the moment) and there are three local elections before the federal one as well, so lots of things could happen that influence the mood in one direction or another.

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Who can explain (preferably by pointing to a longer, reasoned summary) the arguments for disallowing foreign political campaigning? (Honest question, I have no dog in the game.) 

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Well, the court ruling argued the other way round. 

The German supreme court reasoned, there's no legal basis (neither in the German constitution nor in international law) for a foreign head of state to claim the right to travel to Germany in order to perform official duties. [rough translation by sincerely yours].

Unlike the Netherlands and Austria, Germany has not voiced any intention of categorically forbidding Turkish officials to campaign in Germany. Most of the campaign events were disallowed over security concerns, or not following proper procedures. 

A classic was, a hall was rented under the pretense of some cultural festival (or something like that), and two days before the event took place the organizers said, well joke's on you, we are doing a campaign event. 

Stunts like that left the states and communities in a somewhat uncomfortable position, they have to provide ensure the safety of the event (in plain language they have to gather a sufficient police force). Which is not that easy on a short term notice. So their response was, no, joke's on you, we are disallowing the event from happening for security reasons. 

 

That Erdogan and his gang are perceived as a divise force, that is another story. But there's a certain irony in Turkish officials crying about their rights of free speech being restricted, while they are happily jailing over a 100 journalists at home for, well, free speech. 

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51 minutes ago, Notone said:

That Erdogan and his gang are perceived as a divise force, that is another story. But there's a certain irony in Turkish officials crying about their rights of free speech being restricted, while they are happily jailing over a 100 journalists at home for, well, free speech. 

The real irony is Erdogan himself calling the Netherlands a Nazi relic and fascist after all his own actions :rolleyes:, like jailing journalists, banning the word "no" (hearing 'no' to many times would make the Turks vote "no" at the referendum which would grant him more power), silencing the opposition, ... 

Of course, the fact the Netherlands not allowing the Turkish minister to land in the Netherlands had to do with the fact there is an election next week in the Netherlands and Geert Wilders advocated not to allow him to speak in the Netherlands. 

 

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I think we can quickly agree on our views of Erdogan. But making this about Erdogan is probably not a useful way of understanding the principles here.

Why should a foreign politician not campaign in another country? (For instance, as mentioned above, that seems to be the rule in the Netherlands.) There must be some unspoken or explicit rule I wasn’t aware of, and don’t understand the motivation behind.

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While I am not sure about the principle (prima facie it is neither clear to me why it should be allowed nor why it should be forbidden - and as we all know, in Germany the default for anything is rarely "if in doubt, allowed" ;)) the motivation is probably that one does not want to "import" potentially violent or divisive political conflicts, at least not more than unavoidable anyway. E.g., there has been trouble with Kurdish vs. Turkish groups in Germany before.

 

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11 hours ago, Happy Ent said:

I think we can quickly agree on our views of Erdogan. But making this about Erdogan is probably not a useful way of understanding the principles here.

Why should a foreign politician not campaign in another country? (For instance, as mentioned above, that seems to be the rule in the Netherlands.) There must be some unspoken or explicit rule I wasn’t aware of, and don’t understand the motivation behind.

I am not just sure the decision isn't made on an objective principle. The whole decision is influenced by the fact it is Erdogan 

And the Netherlands didn't really just disallow it. 

According to the minister-president there were intentions to hold a big public manifestation which had as result the public safety was threatened. The Dutch and Turkish government went then in dialogue together to try find a solution with the suggestion to hold the meeting in a consulate of embassy. But before they came to a solution, the Turkish government threatened with sanctions (like they almost always do :rolleyes:). And then the Dutch government didn't allow the minister to enter their country. 

He also says he isn't against meeting to inform people who can vote in Turkey. However those meetings cannot result in tensions in our own society and everyone wanting to hold a meeting should follow the guidance of the competent authority so that public order and public safety can be guaranteed (which the Turkish government refused to do)

 

 

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1 hour ago, Tijgy said:

According to the minister-president […]

Thank you very much.

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Posted (edited)

It's a general principle of international law that foreign leaders or high officials aren't entitled to hold official political speeches in a different country. That's an infringement of the sovereignty of the host state. That's why the government of the host country can deny permission for something like that. As it's their decision how they want to deal diplomatically with leaders of foreign countries.

In Germany, it has just been confirmed by the federal constitutional court that high officials of foreign countries can't even claim that this would infringe their constitutional rights, as they are not protected by the constitution in this respect.  http://www.lto.de/recht/nachrichten/n/bverfg-beschluss-2-bvr-483-17-tuerkei-wahlkampf-deutschland/

That decision was made because Turkish officials sued against a city denying them the use of a townhall because of security concerns btw.

 

 

Edited by Prue

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It should be mentioned that Turkish politicians including Erdogan did campaign in Germany in the past.

My guess is that the fear of inciting unrest among parts of the German citizens (those with dual citizenship mostly) overrode the desire for a amicable relationship with this quasi-dictator.

I have a feeling that this decision might backfire

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Posted (edited)

There does not seem to be a clear decision and opinions differ. Some politicians said that the Turkish politicians should in principle/in general be allowed to complain [recte: *campaign*], others (like Schäuble) are reluctant and mentioned the very dangers that came up in this thread already.

FWIW, I think Erdogan has been treated with kid gloves for too long. It is disgusting that a German citizen (the journalist Yücel) who happens to have also a Turkish passport can be detained unter very strange accusations by a "friendly" nation with very little diplomatic repercussions so far.

Edited by Jo498

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4 minutes ago, Jo498 said:

FWIW, I think Erdogan has been treated with kid gloves for too long. It is disgusting that a German citizen (the journalist Yücel) who happens to have also a Turkish passport can be detained unter very strange accusations by a "friendly" nation with very little diplomatic repercussions so far.

Agreed. I think for example he can be happy that he's still allowed to sell his Turkish puppet-newspapers here without getting sued for incitement. I'm always astonished at their headlines bleating out the very same Nazi-comparisons Erdogan and his lackeys use to embarrass themselves. Especially since he seems to be quite successful in addressing a not very small number of very conservative folks with little interest to integrate themselves into the society of their German neighbors and who still look at Ankara for whatever national identity they can get. Telling them that their German neighbors are the enemy that needs to be defied in every area could get very dangerous.

In times like these I often look towards my Turkish-German acquaintances and watch how they position themselves. Sure, they are all young and with academic background, but it makes me optimistic that they are all strongly opposing any further power grab there and reacted to this whole campaigning thing with the same snark Green Party leader Özdemir did: If Erdogan wants to campaign here, he should better not complain when our politicians annouce to campaign in Turkey as retaliation.

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Well, we’ll see a flop in a few days. Then we have actual numbers on the democratic sentiment and allegiance of Turkish Germans, because (as far as I understand) their votes will be reported separately. 

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Posted (edited)

15 minutes ago, Happy Ent said:

Well, we’ll see a flop in a few days. Then we have actual numbers on the democratic sentiment and allegiance of Turkish Germans, because (as far as I understand) their votes will be reported separately. 

Thing is, I'm not quite sure how many of the second or third generation ones have bothered to get Turkish citizenship. Or are motivated enough to vote in the referendum, especially in comparison to those Erdogan managed to rally to his side. Despite my personal impressions my hunch tells me that those who will vote will vote largely in favor of Erdogan, possibly even more than the people in Turkey itself. Which is sad, but I guess it couldn't be helped without a serious opposition movement that can magically overcome Erdogan's nationalist strong man rhetoric. That's why he wants to campaign here in the first place: Because the votes from outside Turkey had always been more conservative and more in his favor, likely due to his press monopoly and integration failures.

Edited by Toth

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6 hours ago, Toth said:

Thing is, I'm not quite sure how many of the second or third generation ones have bothered to get Turkish citizenship.

They didn't have to *get* Turkish citizenship. They automatically have it if their parents were still Turkish citizens when they were born. Getting *German* citizenship used to be rare, as people born in Germany to non-Germans don't automatically get German citizenship. Unlike the US, Germany used to have only the 'ius sanguinis' principle till the year 2000 or so. Now, children who are born in Germany to foreign parents who have had a residence permit for at least 8 years will get additional German citizenship. The children used to have to choose between the foreign and German citizenship when they were adults, but since 2014 they can keep dual citizenship in most cases, or even get their parents' citizenship back if they dropped it. That's why most young Turks who were born here have dual citizenship now.

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Prue, you seem to know of which you speak, but is this quite right?

My impression was that the new 2000 ruling allowed you to take German citizenship while retaining your Turkish citizenship. So the problem was not so much obtaining German citizenship (which was possible all along) but simultaneously keeping the Turkish one. The former impossibility of doing so prevented many German-born Turks of obtaining German citizenship because Turkish citizenship had very high value to them, primarily because of Turkish inheritance laws. Briefly put, your clan would suffer economically by your disavowal of Turkish citizenship, which is why you were socially disincentivized to take German citizenship. (The value of your individual vote for the Bundestag is dwarfed by the value of your clan to some piece of land in Anatolia.)

At least this was my understanding. If I’m completely off, please correct me. This seems to be a dumb thing to be wrong about.

 

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