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Brown Nosing

State elections today in Brandenburg and Sachsen, and the media at home and abroad is bemoaning that the German far right makes poll gains. While the results of the far-right (9% in Sachsen, 6% in Brandenburg) make nice headlines, they miss the point. The real story is the failure of both main parties to maintain their ground. In both Sachsen (CDU 41.9, SPD 9.5) and Brandenburg (SPD 32.1, CDU 19.4), the two Volksparteien combined for barely over 50%. Neither Schröder nor Merkel/Stoiber/Koch have the confidence of voters in the east.

The big winners were the post-Communist PDS, finishing strong second in both contests. Does this foreshadow a return of the PDS to the Bundestag in 2006, tipping the result to deny victory to both SPD and Union?

As for the far right, they've always been utterly incompetent at parliamentary work, so expect the factions to self-destruct sooner than later. The worst thing is that this result entitles the fringe parties to increased state financing, which is based on voter counts. Not that the main parties would ever agree to reform their finances and eliminate such state subsidies. They themselves are too dependent on them.

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