North Rhine Westphalia dissolves itself
The Landtag of the largest state by population, North Rhine Westphalia, dissolved itself yesterday afternoon, forcing an early election which will now be held within 60 days.
The Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Alliance 90/The Greens have been running the state since May 2010 in a minority government which was one vote short of a majority. On Wednesday the state executive were unable to pass their budget proposals, having been defeated by the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Free Democratic Party (FDP) and The Left (Die Linke).
The CDU/FDP coalition was ousted from power in 2010 and the SDP/Green coalition is likely to win the state with an increased majority.
Currently the SDP and CDU are neck and neck on 67 seats each in the 181 seat Landtag and opinion polls suggest that they remain neck and neck on around 33% of the vote each. However, recent polls have also suggested that the Greens might improve their position from 11% to around 17% giving them more seats whilst the CDUs Federal allies the FDP would lose all of their current 13 seats.