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Loge

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Everything posted by Loge

  1. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    Well, one peculiarity of the system is that it's the state governments that are represented in the Federal Council. That somewhat blurs the lines between executive and legislative. And since these governments are usually coalitions which don't match the coalition in the Bundestag there is a lot of bargaining / consensus building involved in legislation. One of the things the Jamaica talks broke up over is a law that lets the family of war refugees (who haven't been granted asylumn) come to Germany. That law was passed by the Grand Coalition as part of a deal with the Greens, who at the time were in opposition on the federal level but sit in a lot of state governments, so their votes were needed in the Bundesrat. Here is the latter's composition. The catch is: it's not really individual seats. Each state speaks with one voice. It's votes can't be split. The colours in the diagram represent the parties in the respective government. Bottom line: everybody is permanently in coalition with everybody else - somewhere.
  2. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    Yes, it could. Technically, her term in office ended when the new Bundestag convened. She is now caretaker chancellor and needs to be elected again. The procedure for electing a chancellor is this: The president proposes a candidate to the Bundestag, the Bundestag votes. It takes yes votes from a majority of the Bundestag's members to elect her. As things are, she wouldn't get that majority. The Bundestag then has two weeks to try again. After that, it's an open race and the candidate with the most votes (plurality) wins. If that candidate doesn't have a majority, the president can choose to dissolve the Bundestag instead of naming her chancellor. So, unless she can convince the Social Democrats to change their mind, she has to lose two votes before she can get elected. Once elected, she could only be overthrown by a majority vote in favour of somebody else, which is practically impossible as things are. The president doesn't favour a new election and wants to talk to the parties. His statement before the press this afternoon sounded like he wants his own party, the Social Democrats, to change their minds on (not) joining another coalition with the C parties. If that fails it's either minority government or re-election. In the latter case, it's not certain that Merkel would still be the CDU's candidate for chancellor.
  3. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    Well, Merkel harvests what she has been sowing these last 12 years. Her coalitions so far didn't end well for her coalition partners, so it's no wonder they are reluctant to join another Merkel-led coalition. Only the Greens are still unscarred, but the bad results of CDU and CSU make a coalition impossible. I don't think a re-election would change much. At least the opinion polls don't indicate any significant change from the election result. It would take a significant upswing for either the CDU or the SPD to change things. A minority government might be interesting. All important decisions require a vote in the Bundesrat anyway, so the notion of a ruling majority has been a fiction for some time. It's 13 different coalition in 16 states.
  4. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    So, the Jamaica talks have failed, after a month of "probing." This could get interesting. The Social Democrats still aren't ready for another coalition with Merkel. Maybe it's time for the CDU to find themselves a new leader. BTW: Merkel can be elected chancellor by a mere plurality, but a minority government on the federal level is unprecedented in post WWII Germany. Much depends on president Steinmeier now.
  5. Looks a lot like they actually have a deal with Tolkien estate. Christopher Tolkien may not like it but how much control does he have? Being a good catholic, JRR Tolkien had a whole bunch of children. Anyway,The Guardian reports:
  6. That's what they used for the Hobbit movies. My understanding is that they have no rights to the setting as such, just the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books. So making up stuff and just use Middle Earth as a setting isn't an option.
  7. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    One week after the election, one has to wonder about Merkel. When Volker Kauder was re-elected leader of the Chistian Democrats he only got 180 votes out of 239 cast and a total of 246 seats the party holds in the bundestag. If that's all she gets from her own party in the election for chancellor she won't have a majority.
  8. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    Neoliberalism has been the dominant political doctrine across the Western world these last 35 years. Blaming that on old count Otto is giving him a bit too much credit. As for the breakup of the coalition in 1982, it had been dead coalition walking for some time. Schmidt barely survived the 1982 SPD party convention in Munich, when it became obvious that the party no longer supported his positions on foreign policy and defence. After that it was just maneuvering to let the other side look bad when the coalition breaks up, and the FDP ended up being painted the villain. The left has had a bizarre obsession with the FDP ever since, but that's not based on facts. The coalition between SPD and FDP was formed to enable a new foreign policy, as the old Hallstein doctrine was no longer viable. That was fulfilled by the time Brandt resigned. After that the coalition went on out of inertia and because the Christian Democrats thought they could win a majority on their own. Had Albrecht run for chancellor instead of Strauss in 1980, it probably would have worked. It nearly did for Kohl in 1976.
  9. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    Hmm. The Tagesschau data (ARD Deutschlandtrend) and the Berliner Morgenpost poll are by the same institute (Infratest Dimap). One presents people with a list of topics and asks about their importance for their decision in the elections. People can then rate them very important, important, less important or not important. The figures you quoted are "very important" only. The Berliner Morgenpost poll lets people name the two problems that need to be addressed most urgently in the next four years. Its interesting how different the resulting different rankings are. ETA: ARD Deutschlandtrend has "immigration of refugees" and "integration of refugees" as separate categories, the Morgenpost bins them together
  10. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    Germany has never officially endorsed immigration. The was the guest worker program back in the 1950s and 60s, when Germany had agreements with Italy, Spain, Portugal, Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey. It allowed / invited people from those countries to come to Germany for work, but they were supposed to go back to their home countries after a couple of years. The latter part was never enforced, though, so many of those "guest workers" became immigrants. Nowadays citizens of EU countries are free to settle in Germany, but you rarely hear complaints about that. Immigrants from Africa and the Middle East usually can't legally move to Germany. But there's one big loophole: asylum. Article 16a of the grundgesetz says: "Politisch verfolgte genießen Asylrecht." Over the years some fine print has been added but the right of asylum still stands. And the courts have interpreted it such that everybody who shows up at the German border or on an airport who says the word "Asyl" must be let into the country. Of course there's a lengthy procedure where their claim of refugee status is checked but apparently the vast majority stay in the country even if they are refused refugee status. So, when there's talk about "immigration" it's always about immigration of refugees (more accurately: people entering the country claiming refugee status). Unlike the UK, it's not about freedom of movement in the EU.
  11. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    Interesting result. The rise of the AfD was expected, but the decline of the Christian Democrats was not, especially not in Bavaria. The SPD's result was within what the opinion polls showed, though at the lower end. The Greens did rather better than expected. AfD won three constituencies in Saxony, CSU won all constituencies in Bavaria, which is why the Bundestag will have more than 700 members. Coalition talks ought to be fun. Looks like Jamaica is the only option but finding a common platform for CDU, CSU, FDP and Greens won't be easy. The CSU facing elections in Bavaria next year won't help, especially with their rather poor results in the federal elections. Meanwhile, Frauke Petry, who won one of those three constituencies, has announced that she doesn't want to be a member of the AfD group in the Bundestag. Funny behaviour for a co-chairperson of the party.
  12. Loge

    Babylon 5

    Has been a couple of years since I last watched the series, but if I recall correctly, the finale of season 5 was shot at the end of season 4 when Straczynski expected that season to be the final one. Isn't Ivanova in it?
  13. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    Does the AfD ever talk about the economy? That neoliberal program may just be leftovers from the Lucke era that they don't care enough about to change. As for coalition arithmetics, the reason why there's no alternative to Merkel is the fragmentation of the left. They would have had a majority in the current Bundestag, but politically it wouldn't have worked. That and the SPD really not being a credible alternative to the Christian Democrats. Can a party that's pro-TTIP credibly campaign on social justice?
  14. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    They got away with it these last 30 years because they had the sympathy of large parts of the left, who used to downplay their actions or blame the police. That's a lot harder this time. This one has drawn a lot of attention, and they laid waste to a quarter that's as leftist as it gets. Let's look at the last election. From Wikipedia:
  15. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    The autonome have definitely scored an own goal with the looting of Sternschanze. Will be interesting to see what the political fallout is, both in Hamburg and in federal politics. Scholz was one of the SPD's hopefuls. I guess that's over now.
  16. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    This Spiegel Online cartoon is spot on.
  17. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    Blunder my ass. This is a classic Merkel U-turn. Looks like she wanted the thing out of the way so it won't be a topic in the upcoming election campaign. And since she voted against it she can pretend to have opposed it.
  18. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    For what it's worth, the TAZ has posted an apology for that title page: http://www.taz.de/In-eigener-Sache--Titelseite/!5421768/
  19. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    On Schröder, he certainly had his faults, but his critics on the left are shooting the messenger. The whole move towards neoliberalism and globalisation is a global phenomenon and there isn't much a single national government can do about it short of leaving the EU and WTO. Agenda 2010 and the Hartz reforms were merely measures to get Germany adapted to changed circumstances. And that is of course also why Schulz has zero credibility. All he proposes is mere cosmetics and will cause more harm than good.
  20. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    There probably won't be a majority. Not with the Greens, Linke, and AfD all in the Bundestag. But even if there is, the FDP just got burned too badly last time. Same as with the SPD. Merkel had to make a lot of concessions in the 2013 coalition talks because the SPD had been thrashed in the elections after the first Merkel-led coalition.
  21. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    So the Social Democrats lost a series of regional elections, most notably in North Rhine-Westphalia. Looks like the Schultz hype is over. It won't be easy for the CDU to form coalitions, though. FDP seems to make a comeback but will be reluctant to join another coalition under Merkel. She'll probably be stuck with a disgruntled SPD in another grand coalition.
  22. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    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?
  23. Loge

    German politics xth attempt

    What will eventually bring down Merkel is that the CDU will keep losing ground in the regional elections. The party will eventually have to ditch her if they want to keep a single state. Can't really run a government without the Bundesrat either. Oh, and of course the AfD will keep growing as long as Merkel is in office. As for the SPD, they don't really have an option to lead a federal government. There's no way they have a majority with the Greens alone, and the Linke is anti-NATO / anti-Western and pro-Putin, which precludes any coalition with them on the federal level. They aren't exactly the party of the poor either, BTW.
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