September 18, 2005 German parliamentary elections have not allowed establishing a fair majority; and dealings among political parties have ensued. As for the rest, final results aren’t yet known as there is still a circumscription left to vote, which determines the number of seats proportionally attributed.
_The red-green coalition (SPD-Greens) in power lost its absolute majority at the Bundestag, but neither did its Christian-Democrat and Liberal opponents win it. The emergence of a new left-wing party has turned the old alliances unsuitable.
While negotiations are still on among the various elements, the main responsible for political parties comment their forthcoming intentions on the press. However, statements avoid too much straight-out formulas in order not to harm negotiations. For instance, in an interview to the Tageszeitung, former Federal Minister for the Environment, ecologist Bärbel Höhn, ruled out any involvement with a government of which Angela Merkel will be a part, but she did not officially pronounced herself on the Greens’ participation in a government with CDU. Nothing seems to be impossible if the conservative party renounces the excesses of its program – very much openly neo-liberal. Höhn thinks that Angela Merkel’s project dangerously moves toward the Anglo-Saxon State model. However, this model gave evidence of its limitations while hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. south. But she seems to give up and make her way back to the opposition while affirming to believe in a fast return to power in a new government’s shift.
Quite popular President and Conservative Minister of Lower Saxony Christian Wulff thinks that his party has won the elections, but the SPD campaign, whose aim was to intimidate lower salary workers with the CDU program prevented his party from winning the elections more neatly. Wulff said that the reform is necessary but it’s still frightening. He denied having any personal ambitions in supporting Angela Merkel.
This exchange proves that the debate among German government parties focuses on the extent of the reform to be applied and on the degree of liberalism to be introduced in the “Rhine Social Model”. At no time has the nature of such reforms been questioned. The principle of an alignment with the Anglo-Saxon socio-economic system, that is, joining globalization, has been unquestionably accepted by German political and media elites with the exception of the Left-Wing Party. This Party has consequently been put aside, or rated as an extreme left party though led by former SPD president. This unanimity veiled behind the discussions about how fast changes must take place in the country is probably the main reason of the SPD’s and CDU’s double defeat (the latter party came to be first in Germany, but lost 23 seats in the Bundestag). Such an outcome shows the repetition of what is going on in France and which takes more and more voters everyday to separate from traditional parties. In Germany, this rejection of the policies proposed by the big parties has translated into success for the Liberal Party (which owes its name to the liberalism of Enlightenment and not to Chicago School “liberalism”) and essentially for the Left-Wing Party (Linkspartei – a coalition that groups former East German Communist Party, SPD’s disappointed members and militants of the alterworldist movement together). The latter had an excellent record, ranking 4th among the German political parties.
One of its leaders, Gregor Gysi, expressed his satisfaction in Die Tageszeitung for the results. In his opinion, these results are the sign of the German’s will to reject the neo-liberal model, which has become the prevailing one both in the media and the political parties. Gysi thus called to the strengthening of the electoral alliance just formed in these last elections, predicting a brilliant future for them.
Most analysts in the foreign press refer to the German ungovernable condition and the impact of such results on the “necessary” adjustment of Germany’s economy. Some, as Figaro’s editorialist Alexandre Adler, even see in a great CDU-SPD coalition an opportunity to speed up the reforms. However, others prefer to interpret the elections as another proof of rejection of the Anglo-Saxon model by the Europeans.
In El Periódico, the director of the Monde Diplomatique Ignacio Ramonet regarded the Linkspartei’s achievement as the great event in this stage. He even considered that this party could have had a much better result if Angela Merkel had not scared German electors to the extent that some preferred a useful election and to forgive Gerhard Schröder’s betrayals. Ramonet advised the new party to avoid any verbal excess against Social-Democrats but he went even further when suggesting that the SPD should not forget what saved it from an electoral correction.
If this reasoning is right, and we think it is, these elections should be compared not only with the French presidential elections in relation to the dominant parties but also with the French and Dutch referendums about the European Constitution as far as the rejection of the pseudo-liberal policies is concerned - in short, a true uprising at the polls in Europe.
In Assafir, Lebanese Analyst Ghassan Abou Hamed considered that the German Council would have wanted to settle the political crisis as soon as possible and encourage a great coalition. As Schröder and Merkel will never understand each other on this point, Hamed predicted the election of an insipid chancellor without any prominence, capable of arranging a compromise between the two parties and be liked by the business media, which would increase even more the lack of credit of such parties. He was also astonished at the foreign interference in the German elections. Schröder was supported by Turkey and Merkel by the U.S. Hamed could have added that the outgoing coalition – or the outgoing chancellor to be exact – was backed by Russia, which spared no efforts in so doing.
Foreign policy issues don’t seem to have been a determining factor in German parliamentary elections. However, the atlantist media is satisfied with Gerard Schröder’s scheduled departure. The Washington Post’s editorial staff had openly wished his defeat a few weeks ago and after the elections, the team expressed its pleasure to finally see this too independent chancellor being removed. However, the daily deplored the fact that this hadn’t led to Angela Merkel’s victory. Mrs. Merkel was actually unstinting in her efforts to show her submissiveness to Washington.
Israel also profited from Merkel’s attentions. Before the elections, this conservative candidate had granted an interview to the reference daily Ha’aretz where she confirmed her support to Ariel Sharon’s policy. She also said that the fight against anti-Semitism is a top priority for which she promised to implement Israeli and German youth exchange programs. This way, she mixed up Israelis and Jewish and therefore anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. On the other hand, she undermined the efforts of those who at academy levels want to pressure Israel into peace through academic boycott.
Neo-cons also drove a campaign for Merkel. In an interview granted to the Figaro before the elections, the director of the Project for a New American Century (a group in charge of writing George W. Bush’s presidential programs), Gary Schmitt, made clear his support to Angela Merkel in Germany and to Nicolas Sarkozy in France. Schmitt said that it is the alliance with the U.S. which could make the Franco-German tandem the driving force of Europe and considered that Germany and EU global influence should only go through NATO. For the hawks, EU should be no more than a complementary power of Washington. So, any Franco-German independence will would be upsetting for the hawks. Today, the Paris-Berlin-Moscow-Beijing alliance is on the brink of loosing the German link, which should go to join the U.S. influential field. This is what Schmitt said when he diminished Germany’s links with Russia and China to no more than a Gerhard Schröder’s whim, which would soon have no further consequences.
In that same daily, but this time after the elections, Rand Corporation German researchers Andreas Hotes and Kai Wegrich considered that after taking the results into account nothing would significantly change in Germany. Even if CDU had wished and won the elections more neatly, it would have been unable to further strengthen the links with the U.S. Reassuring their readers, they said that, come what may, there is no reason for France to be concerned as France will continue to be Germany’s privileged partner.