Hessen votes… again

I could use one of my favourite quotes today: “Same Procedure as Last Year?”

You see today, almost one year to the day, Hessen has to return to the polling stations and vote for a new state government (Landtag).

But it would not be right to say that nothing has changed in that year and we are repeating the excercise.

Let’s take a quick look at the parties:


The CDU has been fairly quiet this year, although I did see them out on a local supermarket car park last year canvassing for votes.  Compaired to last year, they have stopped talking about crimes allegedly committed by foreign youths, and have got on with the work of producing some new ideas, or just promoting those that worked well in the past.  In my opinion, this may well be enough to win.


The SPD had a turbulent time last year.  Although at they were in a position to form a minority coalition last year twice, both attempts were blocked by MPs from their own party.  This has definitely not helped their reputation.  It also did not help that they were going to accept help from a party (Die Linke) that they had previously said they would not work together with.

But their candidate last year, Andrea Ypsilanti, probably did not help matters by trying to stay on for a second chance, and even when she did make way for a new candidate, it was her personal choice who were selected to stand and she herself remains both head of the local party and of the parliamentary group.

I don’t believe that this is a good way to show that the party has learned from last year’s experience and is ready to make changes.  In fact, it looks like quite the opposite.

Another critisism of the SPD is that they are spending too much time on criticising the CDU, and not enough time telling voters what their own policies would be, if elected.

Oh, and appearing on the celebrity edition of “Who want’s to be a Millionaire?” probably didn’t help Fr.Ypsilanti’s image either…

FDP and Grüne

The FDP and the Green party have been very quiet this time round.  We have not had any election pamphlets in our letter box, and I have not seen anyone canvassing out on the streets (or supermarket car park).

In the media, they appear to be keeping a low profile, especially the Green party.  This is in comparison to last year, where the lines were clearly drawn about who would enter a coalition with whom.

Die Linke

You could say that this is the party that caused all the problem last year, by entering the Landestag and making it so difficult to form a coalition amongst the other parties.  But perhaps that wasn’t such a bad thing, because it meant that we were able to see the true face of some of those parties’ politics.

New Trends

Bread rolls courtesy of the CDU

Bread rolls courtesy of the CDU

Many of the parties have take a look at the US elections last year, and have been trying to emulate Barack Obama’s success on the internet.  They have are using Twitter, Wer-kennt-wen, YouTube, and even make.tv.  This might explain why we haven’t had any flyers in our letter box from most of them.

The morning I even found a bag of rolls with portions of liver sausage and jam from the CDU, with a note on them asking us to go and vote.  They had literally left a bag of rolls on everyone’s doorstep or hanging on their front door handle in the entire neighbourhood!

Now, I may be a big fan of Web 2.0, but a free bag of rolls on a Sunday morning is a lot more use to many people than a video podcast.  Not that it will make any difference to my decision today, as I am not eligible to vote in this election.

But at the end of the day, I am beginning to wonder who will have had a bigger influence on voters: the Koch or the Bäcker?

Hessen in Chaos

The political landscape in Hessen is in Chaos. After weeks of talking (or not talking, as the case may be), one of the parties finally made a move. The SPD decided to accept the support of the left-wing “Linke” party to get themselves into government.

However the support appears to have been limited to the vote on the position of Ministerpräsident(-in), after that there would have been a minority red-green coalition (SPD/Greens).

All went well until one MP, Dagmar Metzger from Darmstadt, decided that should could not accept this way forward and would not be voting for her own party.

Now Frau Ypsilanti now longer has the majority that she needs to be elected, so the Local Government remains in a state of limbo. Roland Koch remains as the Ministerpräsident until further notice and no party has a working majority.

This afternoon I even read that the SPD is being criticised for mobbing Frau Metzger into giving back her mandate.

Is it really mobbing to suggest that someone who got elected for a particular party is asked to hand their mandate back for not following the party line just a month after the election?

I’m undecided on this one. On the one hand I think the party could expect its MPs to follow its lead. In fact, they even asked at a meeting of MPs if they would be doing so and all agreed to. Frau Metzger did not even attend!

On the other hand, Frau Ypsilanti stated quite clearly both before and after the election that should would not be working together with the “Linke” party.

So who is going back on their principles? Who is right and who is wrong?

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