Brandenburg, Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) and Upper Austria 2009
Three state elections were held on Sunday, September 27. Two were held in Germany (Brandenburg, in the east and Schleswig-Holstein in the far north) and one in Austria (Upper Austria, in northern Austria).
SPD 33.0% (+1.9%) winning 31 seats (-2)
Left 27.2% (-0.8%) winning 26 seats (-3)
CDU 19.8% (+0.4%) winning 19 seats (-1)
FDP 7.2% (+3.9%) winning 7 seats (+7)
Greens 5.6% (+2.0%) winning 5 seats (+5)
Few surprises in Brandenburg, where the top parties moved very little. The SPD actually did a tiny bit better than in 2004, a low point both for the German left (then in government, with the Greenies, federally) and the SPD in Brandenburg (constantly down from 54% in 1994) and won a few more direct seats than in 2004 (despite losing 2 to the Left). The SPD-CDU Grand Coalition keeps it absolute majority, but a SPD-Left government has a majority and the SPD has the upper spot in such a scenario.
The far-right DVU, which had 6 seats, was totally obliterated and polled only 1.2%, down 4.9%, polling behind the Nazis (2.6%) and FW (1.7%). The DVU had been hurt by divisions and so forth since 2004. I think there’s a unwritten rule in German far-right land, atleast between the NPD and DVU not to run against each other in state elections.
CDU 31.5% (-8.7%) winning 34 seats (+4)
SPD 25.4% (-13.3%) winning 25 seats (-4)
FDP 14.9% (+8.3%) winning 15 seats (+11)
Greens 12.4% (+6.2%) winning 12 seats (+8)
Left 6.0% (+5.2%) winning 5 seats (+5)
SSW 4.3% (+0.7%) winning 4 seats (+2)
A more surprising result in Schleswig-Holstein’s snap election provoked by the break-up of the CDU-led Grand Coalition this year. While a potential left-wing majority (SPD-Greens-Left-SSW, though SSW said it wouldn’t work with the Left) won 48.1% against the CDU-FDP’s combined 46.4%, the local electoral system got the latter option a majority (49 seats vs. 46). A lot, I think, is also due to the fact that the CDU owned the SPD by a huge margin in the direct seats (the SPD only won 3 seats in Kiel and 3 seats in Lubeck). Even though both the CDU and SPD lost lots of ground, the SPD lost more so and those things work in the CDU’s favour in direct seats.
As said above, the CDU-FDP has enough seats for a majority coalition in Schleswig-Holstein.
Now, down across the border to Upper Austria. Upper Austria, the country’s third state by population, is a conservative state though in federal elections it remains a top swing state. The state’s largest city, Linz, is a major industrial centre as is Branau-am-Inn (Hitler’s birthplace) and Steyr. The state also includes scenic lake-side retirement areas, such as Gmunden, which helps the left (Austrian seniors tend to be on the left).
ÖVP 46.76% (+3.34%) winning 28 seats (+3)
SPÖ 24.94% (-13.40%) winning 14 seats (-3)
FPÖ 15.29% (+6.90%) winning 9 seats (+5)
Greens 9.18% (+0.12%) winning 5 seats (±0)
BZÖ 2.83% (+2.83%) winning 0 seats (±0)
The election is a spectacular defeat for the Social Democrats, who have had an awful year in Austria with massive defeats in the European elections, the Vorarlberg election and now in Upper Austria. For example, the SPÖ came second in its’ local stronghold, Linz, for the first time (I think) since 1945. It lost a full 16% of the vote, with the ÖVP gaining 6% and the FPÖ 7%. The SPÖ is the senior governing party federally, and it trails its coalition partner, the centre-right ÖVP by an increasingly large margin federally.