Politics in Hessen

Whilst most of the World is watching what’s going on in the U.S.A. today, one part of Germany is still trying to cope with the results of an election held months ago.  9 Months to be exact.

Since January, no single political party and not even a coalition has had a majority in the local parliament in Hessen.  This has meant that the previous Ministerpräsident has simply stayed in office whilst the parties try to find a way to form a government.

Last week the SPD thought that they had managed it.  Their candidate, Andrea Ypsilanti, was to be voted in to form a minority coalition government between the SPD and the Green party, with support from Die Linke.  This was controversial from the outset as during the election campaign Frau Ypsilanti had said that she would not work together with Die Linke party.

Then, yesterday, it all went wrong.  Previously one of the SPD MPs had said that she would not be voting in favour of Frau Ypsilanti, yesterday there were suddenly three more!  The majority was no longer possible – even with the cross-party support, and so the vote was not held.

Instead, most of the parties have told the press that they want to have new elections.  They may even call for them in the next sitting of parliament, meaning that the elections would be held in January.

And that’s something that many politicians want to avoid, as it would mean campaigning through the Christmas and New Year periods, when people are generally less interested in politics.

But that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen.  So here are my predictions for the forthcoming election campaign:

– the election will take place on the earliest possible date, ie. 18th January

– the parties will be campaigning at the Christmas markets, no doubt giving out free Glühwein and Stollen, leading to a number of TV reports along the lines of “the economy is bad enough, but the vendors at the Christmas markets are doing even worse than expected due the amount of free Glühwein being given away”

– the SPD and the Green party will lose voters, and Die Linke will have an even stronger roll to place in the next parliament, although the CDU and FDP will have enough gains to form a coalition.

What do you think?

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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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