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German SPD on track for another win as Saarland state heads to polls

Tender Branson

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Mar 27, 2022 | 12:10 AM
By Andreas Rinke and Sarah Marsh

saarburg-old-town-on-a-hills-of-saar-river-valley-germany-picture-id1146686333


BERLIN (Reuters) – Germans head to the polls in the small western state of Saarland on Sunday in the first of four regional votes this year which could enable Social Democrat Chancellor Olaf Scholz to consolidate his grip on power.

The first regional vote since the federal election last September which the Social Democrats (SPD) unexpectedly won – beating the conservatives for the first time in 16 years – looks set to provide the party another boost.

A poll published on Thursday by ZDF Politbarometer put the SPD at 41% of the vote compared with 28% for the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU). The two parties have ruled Saarland in a conservative-led so-called “grand coalition” since 2012.

State elections in Germany are important bellwethers for the public mood and to determine the distribution of votes in the Bundesrat upper house of parliament.

While the ruling coalition of SPD, environmentalist Greens and liberal Free Democrats (FDP) has a solid majority in the Bundestag lower house, conservative-led or co-ruled states have 51 of 69 votes in the Bundesrat.

Three of the four states going to the polls this year are CDU-led. If the CDU were to lose those votes, that could make it easier for the government to pass legislation.

In the case of Saarland however, political analysts point out it does not have much weight in the Bundesrat given it has only around a million inhabitants.

Moreover voters there are especially motivated by local issues like concerns about high unemployment and the popularity of regional SPD leader Anke Rehlinger.

The conservatives are actually leading in polls nationwide, at 27% versus 23% for the SPD, said Manfred Guellner, head of pollster Forsa.

A more critical signpost will be the elections on May 15 in Germany’s most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia, said Naz Masraff at Eurasia Group.

“A possible change of government from the CDU to the SPD would be critical for Scholz to further consolidate power in his party, and allow larger policy space for the government,” said Masraff.

Currently the CDU premiers of North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein, which is set to hold a state election on May 8, are leading their SPD rivals in polls. Lower Saxony, where the SPD is leading a grand coalition, also goes to the ballot on Oct. 9.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Sarah Marsh; editing by Jonathan Oatis)



The expected shifts in this small state are about to be momentous.

It was 42-29 CDU/SPD in the last election, today polls show it to be the exact opposite ...
 

Tender Branson

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Governor Tobias Hans (CDU) is chased (out of office) by 4 women today:

D8352012-EDE4-4-E97-9900-2-AB0-F9-AD347-A.jpg


All 4 lead candidates from the other major parties are women today, with Anke Rehlinger (SPD) having the best chances to become the new governor. After all, her SPD is expected to receive 40% today.
 

Tender Branson

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The polls have just closed and both the ARD and ZDF exit polls show a potential absolute majority for the Saar-SPD !

That would be unexpected and stunning and a big win for Chancellor Scholz. Even if it’s just a small state.

The SPD is projected at 43-44%, up from 29% in 2017.

Even though short of 50%, they could still get an absolute majority in seats because the Left Party has fallen below 5% and won’t get any seats.

And the AfD, FDP and Greens are also just above 5% and might or might not get in.

It would be weird if the 4 small parties would all fail to enter parliament, with 4.9% of the vote. But I think one or two will get in, maybe even 3. Only the Left Party is definitely out.
 

Tender Branson

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All votes are now counted.

And the SPD has indeed received an absolute majority with ca. 44% of the vote.

3 small parties failed to cross the 5% threshold to receive seats:

The Greens with 4.995% (!) fell short by 23 votes.

The FDP got 4.8% and the Left got just 2.5% - only the far right AfD managed to enter parliament with 5.5% alongside the mainstream big parties SPD and CDU.
 

TomFitz

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The polls have just closed and both the ARD and ZDF exit polls show a potential absolute majority for the Saar-SPD !

That would be unexpected and stunning and a big win for Chancellor Scholz. Even if it’s just a small state.

The SPD is projected at 43-44%, up from 29% in 2017.

Even though short of 50%, they could still get an absolute majority in seats because the Left Party has fallen below 5% and won’t get any seats.

And the AfD, FDP and Greens are also just above 5% and might or might not get in.

It would be weird if the 4 small parties would all fail to enter parliament, with 4.9% of the vote. But I think one or two will get in, maybe even 3. Only the Left Party is definitely out.

Let’s see what happens in Hungary, and how the right wing government in Poland does. Can the fascist revival be waning?
 

ChickenTendies

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In Germany, the status quo is OK though because SPD and CDU/CSU are pragmatic & issue-oriented.
Pragmatism and "Grand Coalitions" have been reigning in Europe for decades. Voters are getting tired of the endless compromises and bipartisanship that yield little change. That's why there's been a surge in right wing parties, added onto resentment from the refugee crisis.

More specifically, the affordable public housing in Germany is crap, since the government seems to have ignored it for successive administrations
 

TomFitz

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I think Orban and his party will get re-elected.

They don’t trade horses in such an environment nearby …

I think so too. But I was hoping there for a minute.
 
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