The Meaning of Hamburg01 Mar 2004
I've now slept on the Hamburg election. Despite the glee of some commentators over yet another defeat for Chancellor Schröder, they're missing the real meaning of the election in Hamburg... a victory for Angela Merkel, and the emergence of a new star in the CDU, Ole von Beust.
The failure of the FDP to reach 5% reduces their weight for the selection of the Bundespresident, and Guido must now realize that unless he finally puts his yellow house in order, the CDU can do the same thing nationally as it has done in Hamburg: rule without the FDP.
Ole von Beust is now free of the two skeletons in the closet, his homosexuality and Ronald Schill. He is now free to play a national role in the CDU. By 'pulling a Stoiber' in Hamburg, von Beust must now be mentioned in the same breath as CDU stars like Koch and Wulff.
And a new moderate CDU star strengthens Merkel's hand against the Lederhosen wing of the Union. I doubt that Stoiber will throw in the towel and move to Bellevue (i.e. accept the office of Bundespresident, removing him from political influence), but I do believe that the Union will take more moderate positions on issues like immigration and tax reform, and that this makes Merkel even more likely to be the next chancellor candidate.
(Lightly ediited from a comment posted at Medienkritik.)