Saarland, Saxony, Thuringia 2009
As I had previously mentioned in an earlier post, three German states held state elections for their Landtags on August 30. Prior to the elections, the centre-right CDU, currently the senior governing party federally, was the senior governing party in all three and in two of them, Saarland and Thuringia, the CDU had an outright majority alone, meaning that it did not need to form a coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) or the free-market liberal FDP, the CDU’s preferred partner.
In Saarland, the CDU took a major thumping compared to it’s landslide in 2004, therefore returning to more usual election results for the CDU in Saarland. The Left did better than expected, far better than the party did in the June Euros and better than the party’s 18.5% showing in the 2005 federal election (and, of course, it’s 2.3% showing in the 2004 state elections). Do note that Saarland does not have single-member constituencies at the state level.
CDU 34.5% (-13.0%) winning 19 seats (-8)
SPD 24.5% (-6.3%) winning 13 seats (-5)
Left 21.5% (+19.2%) winning 11 seats (+11)
Greens 5.9% (+2.4) winning 3 seats (±0)
FDP 9.2% (+4.0%) winning 5 seats (+2)
NPD (Nazis) 1.5% (-2.5%) winning 0 seats (±0)
The two coalition options currently on the table is Red-Red-Green (meaning a coalition between the three left-wing parties, the SPD, Linke and Greenies) and Jamaica. Red-Red-Green, if it works out, would be the first such coalition in West Germany, though an earlier attempt at such a coalition in Hesse in 2008 resulted in several SPD members defecting and led to a snap early election and blablabla. The other option on the table is the Jamaica Coalition, an idea floated around in the 2005 federal election season, but dead since. It is a coalition between the CDU, FDP and Greens. In this case, the CDU would obviously retain the Minister-President position. Red-Red-Green remains the likeliest, but the Greens plan on taking their time to figure out where they stand.
In Saxony, the CDU resisted better than in the two other states up that day. I would assume that part of the reason is that the incumbent government was a coalition between the CDU and SPD as opposed to a CDU-only coalition as in Saarland and Thuringia. While the Nazis lost votes compared to their spectacular 2004 showing, they, sadly, remain in Parliament.
CDU 40.2% (-0.9%) winning 58 seats (+3)
Left 20.6% (-3.0%) winning 29 seats (-2)
SPD 10.4% (+0.6%) winning 13 seats (+1)
FDP 10% (+4.1%) winning 14 seats (+7)
Greens 6.0% (+1.3%) winning 9 seats (+3)
NPD (Nazis) 5.6% (-3.6%) winning 8 seats (-4)
There is very little doubt that Minister-President Stanislaw Tillich (CDU) will form a coalition with the FDP, which is now possible.It’s not as if anybody wants to keep the Grand Coalition anyways.
In Thuringia, finally, the CDU took a major thumping after the party’s landslide win in 2004 (and prior to that).
CDU 31.2% (-11.8%) winning 30 seats (-15)
Left 27.4% (+1.3%) winning 27 seats (-1)
SPD 18.5% (+4.0%) winning 18 seats (+3)
FDP 7.6% (+4.0%) winning 7 seats (+7)
Greens 6.2% (+1.7%) winning 6 seats (+6)
There are two options on the table in Thuringia, each demanding some major choices from some party leaders. The preferred one is a Red-Red coalition in which the Social Democrats would get the spot of Minister-President, or atleast might get it for some time before giving it over to the Left. This scenario would likely require that the Left leader, Ramelow, not want the post of Minister-President. The other option would be a Grand Coalition, probably without current Minister-President and CDU leader Dieter Althaus. He is under mounting intra-party pressure to go, and if he does, that will likely mean a Grand Coalition, which, in my opinion, would be bad for the SPD here.
Local elections were also held in North Rhine-Westphalia. The CDU won 38.6%, 4.8% less than in 2004, while the SPD won 29.4%, 2.3% less than in 2004. The main winners were the Greenies (12%, +1.7%), the FDP (9.2%, +2.4%), and the Left (4.4%, +3.0%). The SPD did pick up Cologne and Essen, however. A map can be found here.