Daily Archives: September 10, 2011

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (Germany) 2011

A state election was held in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in German) on September 4, 2011. The Landtag of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania currently has 71 members (72 after the election), of which 36 are elected through first-past-the-post in single-member districts and the rest of which are elected through party-list proportional representation with a 5% threshold. The direct and list votes in the Rügen-I constituency was delayed for two weeks after the death of the CDU candidate before the election.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is a large but very sparsely populated state on Germany’s Baltic seashore. This old East German region is composed of Mecklenburg, one of the few regions of northern Germany to never come under Prussian control; and Western Pomerania, the western region of the old Prussian Province of Pomerania most of which now lies in Poland. Mecklenburg and Pomerania were two predominantly rural and poor provinces. Following World War II, Western Pomerania was extensively re-settled by Germans who used to live in eastern Pomerania (which became Polish). Today, the region’s population is in decline and it is one of the poorest states in Germany. Politically, Mecklenburg and Pomerania are something of two distinct entities. Mecklenburg has a long left-wing history, being a strong SPD state since the Weimar era and maintaining that (more or less) since then, unlike Saxony for example. The shipbuilding city of Rostock has been a SPD stronghold since the Kaiserreich. Pomerania, in contrast, has long been a very conservative area. It was the land of the Prussian junkers, with little industry (except the navy in Stralsund). While Mecklenburg voted SPD during Weimar, Pomerania was a DNVP and later Nazi stronghold. To this day, western Pomerania remains a CDU stronghold at all levels, even though it is heavily Protestant. Angela Merkel has represented the Pomeranian constituency of Stralsund–Nordvorpommern–Rügen since 1990 even though she isn’t originally from the area. At the state level, the SPD has governed since 1998, first in a red-red coalition with the PDS until 2006 and since then in a Grand Coalition with the CDU. The Minister-President since 2008 is the SPD’s Erwin Sellering.

SPD 35.7% (+5.5%) winning 28 seats (+5)
CDU 23.1% (-5.7%) winning 18 seats (-4)
Linke 18.4% (+1.6%) winning 14 seats (+1)
Green 8.4% (+5%) winning 6 seats (+6)
NPD 6% (-1.3%) winning 5 seats (-1)
FDP 2.7% (-6.9%) winning 0 seats (-7)
Pirates 1.9% (+1.9%) winning 0 seats (nc)
Family 1.6% (+0.4%) winning 0 seats (nc)
Others 2.2% (±0%) winning 0 seats (nc)

The results proved an almost spotless success for the left. The SPD was reelected with an increased majority, and won its second best result in state elections since 1990. It is a pleasing success for the SPD, which after a very bad through in 2009 is starting to see its fortunes perk up slowly but surely despite the Green surge. A recent poll placed it at 30% federally, a level it has not seen since at least 2010 if not long before then. It finally seems to be able to profit from the federal government’s unpopularity. The Greens continued their string of success with their best result in any election in the state since 1990 and making their first entrance in the Landtag ever. The Greens are now represented in every Landtag. Even the Left, which is going through a bad stint right now with its share of internal divisions and the like, had a good night. In sharp contrast, the right was crushed. The CDU won by far its worst result in any state election, and lost nearly 6% of its vote share. More important and striking is the FDP’s utter and total collapse. The FDP had done very well in 2006 with over 9% in a state which is not particularly friendly to the FDP, so a setback was to be expected. But not only was the FDP thrown out of the Landtag, it collapsed to a mere 2.7% of the vote. The neo-Nazi NPD held all but one of its seats despite falling back slightly. Turnout fell to 51.4% from 59% in 2006.

The Spiegel has a nice interactive map of the result. The SPD won 23 direct seats against 12 for the CDU (in 2006, the CDU won 20, the SPD 15 and the Left 1). In the list vote, the CDU won only two constituencies. The bulk of the CDU’s direct seats are in western Pomerania.

The special election in Rügen-I is a funny situation now. The CDU’s candidate died, and its replacement candidate was dropped when it was revealed that he had been a member of the far-right DVU. He will remain on the ballot on the CDU line, but without the CDU’s support. In 2006, the CDU won the direct vote in Rügen-I with 31.6% to the SPD’s 25%. This year, the CDU held the Rügen-II seat with 29.8% against 27.6% for the SPD. It seems as if the most likely outcome is a SPD victory. The result will not change much: the Greens could gain a seat from the NPD if it won 18.5% of the vote.

Start reading my Guide to the 2011 Spanish Elections, all you’ve ever wanted to know and more about Spanish history, political issues, political parties, regions and more in one huge thing. Still under permanent construction.