Someone Had A Grudge19 Mar 2005
In Germany politics, it almost seems that nothing happens without first being approved in advanced by a party committee, and it's almost a relief when something spontaneous and unexpected occurs. The minority Red-Green government in Schleswig-Holstein was signed, sealed, but in the end not delivered. One member of the supposed coalition abstained in four secret ballots, und thus Premier Heidi Simonis fell one vote short of forming a government and subsequently resigned after nearly 12 years in office.
Schleswig-Holstein is a small fish in national politics, but symbolically this is a huge blow for Chancellor Schröder and the SPD. If you can't get your own back-benchers to support a long-standing state premier, how can you be expected to run the largest country in the EU? And how can you expect to keep ruling Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany's largest and last remaining Red-Green state which holds elections in May (the polls are neck and neck).
Simonis, Germany's first and only female premier, always spoke her mind and I'll miss her for that (and her hats). Maybe Schröder will find a place for her in his Home for Wayward SPD Premiers (er, I mean his cabinet).