German Election Campaign

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Adam's Apple, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Schroder's at it again.....

    Steel from An Iron Lady
    By Suzanne Fields, The Washington Times
    August 22, 2005

    "Prior to the last German election," reports der Spiegel, the German newsmagazine, "Gerhard Schroder went on the offensive against U.S. military intervention in Iraq, and now -- like the leopard who cannot change his spots -- Schroder has pulled the same trick again, warning the U.S. against an invasion of Iran."

    This time he's attacking a straw man who hardly resembles President Bush. Too bad for him, the president is not invading Iran. What the chancellor seized on was the president's answer to an Israeli reporter's question about whether force would ever be used to prevent the Iranian nuclear enrichment program, a necessary prelude to building nuclear weapons. "All options are on the table," Mr. Bush replied. "The use of force is the last option for any president." What else could any American president say?

    The next day the German leopard leaped at a phantom. "Let's leave the military option aside," he told a campaign rally. "We have seen it doesn't amount to anything." It was a particularly obtuse reading of the president's remarks -- to say nothing of history -- by a German chancellor.

    Angela Merkel's campaign is in trouble not because she won't win a plurality of the vote, which she probably will, but because she might not win the absolute majority required in the German system before a challenging party can take power. Without the majority, her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) might have to form a coalition with Chancellor Schroder's Social DemocraticParty (SPD), further paralyzing the government and putting off the reforms needed to resuscitate the moribund German economy.

    Frau Merkel wants to be George W.'s friend, and she has scolded the chancellor for damaging relations with Washington. The chancellor's injection of Iran into the election campaign is not without severe risks. Wolfgang Schauble, the foreign policy chief of Frau Merkel's party, calls him callously irresponsible. "He's acting as though the problem were in Washington, rather than in Tehran, even though he knows that isn't the case," he said. "The chancellor is creating the fatal impression in Tehran that the international community is not resolute."

    for full article:
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20050821-103902-4399r.htm
     
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    More about the upcoming election in Germany.

    Let the Battle Commence
    From The Economist Global Agenda
    August 22, 2005

    Gerhard Schröder may still be the loser in next month’s election in Germany—but it is no longer so certain that Angela Merkel, the opposition Christian Democrats’ candidate, will be the winner.

    In the weeks ahead some clarity may emerge. Polls will help to assess the damage done by Mr Stoiber: one taken after his remarks suggested that he has hurt Ms Merkel, but not her party; and the latest polls give the CDU/CSU and FDP a slender majority. The Constitutional Court still has to rule on whether the election should go ahead, since the chancellor called it after engineering his own defeat in a confidence motion, to the anger of some parliamentarians. (After a hearing earlier this month, most observers believe that the judges will acquiesce.) And on September 4th, Ms Merkel and Mr Schröder will hold their televised debate.

    This debate will shift the campaign into top gear. Almost half the voters, say some polls, will make up their minds only in the final two weeks. The sole certainty now is that the CDU will end up with the most votes (over 40%), so Ms Merkel remains likely to become Germany’s first female chancellor. But whether she will govern with the FDP, which, like the Greens, is stuck at around 7-8%, or be forced into an uncomfortable grand coalition with the SPD, is anybody’s guess.

    for full article:
    http://www.economist.com/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=4299124
     

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