Saarland votes today
If Angela Merkel was hoping for a quiet 2012 on the elections front then unfortunately she has been disappointed. On 6th January the so called Jamaica Coalition (because the party colours of the coalition match the colours of Jamaica’s flag) collapsed and an election was called for 25th March.
State Governor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer will have hoped that the coalition made up of the main Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens would reach a full term in two year’s time. Instead, three years into the coalition another election has been called and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) is on 37% to the CDUs 35%.
In the 2009 election the CDU took 19 seats and the SPD took 13 seats. The FDP had five seats and the Greens had three seats. The other major party in the Landtag or state parliament, the Left, took 11 seats.
A full complement of 51 seats is being contested today and if the CDU lose control then it will be the first time since 1999 and it will be the fourth state lost by the CDUsince 2010. It will create even more problems for Angela Merkel in the Bundesrat or upper house whose make-up is based upon the 16 Länder or states in Germany.
The good news is that the polls for the federal elections suggest that the CDU is still popular. A poll by pollsters GMS for Der Spiegel online published on 22nd March puts the CDU/CSU on 37% of the vote nationally. That is 10% ahead of their main rivals the Social Democratic Party (SPD) on 27%.
The Greens are on 14%, the Left Party on 8% and the Pirates on 6%. The bad news is that the CDUs federal coalition partner the Free Democratic Party (FDP) is on 4%, below the 5% threshold for representation.
Angela Merkel has further problems facing her, with another state election in Schleswig-Holstein on 6th May and then North Rhine-Westphalia on 13th May.