Monday, September 16, 2013

Bavaria Deep Black Again

Bavaria held state and regional elections this Sunday, one week before the Bundestagswahl (federal elections). The CSU (party color: black) - the Bavarian only part of Merkel's CDU/CSU Union - recaptured the absolute majority. Five years ago, the CSU was forced to form a coalition with the liberal democrats, who captured 8 percent of the vote.

What can we learn from this result for the federal elections next week?

Bavaria is a special case. The CSU result is actually still quite low, when compared to the the results of 1998 and 2003 where the party received 52.9 percent and 60.9 percent of the vote. 47.7 percent is the fifth worst result for the CSU. And, in 2008 the voters decided to break the long lasting one party rule for the first time since 1962.

So the CSU reaching the absolute majority should not really come as a surprise, the other numbers tell a important story though. The social democrat SPD is not a major party in Bavaria anymore; and probably has no chance to get back to their results of around 30 percent which they achieved for decades until the former chancellor Schröder decided to push through his Agenda 2010 reforms in 2003. Still 20.6 percent is the best SPD result in the three elections since then.

Both the CSU and the SPD were the only parties that were able to improve their results compared to 2008. The voters are moving away from smaller parties. This might become a major problem for the liberal democrats FDP in the federal elections next week. The party is trending around the 5 percent hurdle they need to pass to be in the next Bundestag. The party is now desperately trying to get CDU/CSU voters to to lend the party votes to improve their chances next Sunday. The CDU/CSU is having none of it this time.

The NSA scandal does not seem to be affecting the elections all that much. The Pirates gained two percent of the vote. Of course, the party might have destroyed their chances themselves by arguing with themselves for the last few years, not achieving any positive change where they had a chance; and, well proving everybody, who claimed that they lack any competence, right. Asking for a handbook for the zombie apocalypse was just one of the mindbogglingly stupid moves that just about eliminated their chances to be in the next Bundestag. The Federal Minister of the Interior Friedrich is a CSU member and his disregard for the German constitution by making up a super-basic-right "security" did not negatively affect the party. Neither did his lack of willingness to even admit that there was a scandal by pretending it was just Snowden's word against the one of the US. In fact most voters just don't seem to care.

The voters were also able to give the "debt brake" constitutional status in Bavaria. 89.4 percent voted yes, so from 2020 onwards Bavaria can only increase its debt in case of a natural catastrophe or a recession. In fact, it the state now has to act anti-cyclical. Given the choice, citizens are for the most part against increasing state debt.

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