Huge Setback For Merkel In German Regional Election

A blog about business and economics.
May 13 2012 1:57 PM

Huge Setback For Merkel In German Regional Election

Wikimedia Commons

North-Rhine Westphalia SPD Leader Hannelore Kraft

North-Rhine Westphalia is Germany's largest state, and it just dealt a serious political setback to Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union.

For background, the last NRW election resulted in a near-tie betwee the CDU and the center-left Social Democrats, led by Hannelore Kraft. But the Greens outpolled the libertarian Free Democrats, so a Red-Green coalition resulted even though it was one vote shy of a majority in the regional parliament. That was viable because the conveniently named far-left Left Party abstained from the vote of confidence. In the runup to this election, NRW was under pressure from Berlin to make steadier progress in reducing its budget deficit—much as Berlin has been pressuring the smaller independent nations of Europe. But the CDU lost big, posting what exit polls are indicating will be their worst result since World War II. The Red-Green coalition is set for a stable majority. And the Left Party, which has enormous ill-will with the Social Democrats, looks to be fading and has now been badly overtaken by the Pirate Party as the protest party of choice.


This doesn't have any direct implications for the Eurozone debate, but combined with the collapse of the Dutch cabinet and François Hollande's victory in France it illustrates that the political winds are shifting against the center-right consensus that's been driving things for the past couple of years.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.