Wulff Again19 Jan 2008
There are three regional election campaigns going on in Germany, with three CDU state presidents up for re-election: Roland Koch in Hesse, Ole von Beust in Hamburg, and Christian Wulff in our own Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony).
We in Niedersachsen are blessed with the most boring of the three campaigns. The polls are showing a slight decline for Wulff's CDU from 5 years ago, when he was helped by an anti-Schröder backlash, but his CDU-FDP coalition is in no danger. Even the question of whether the new Linke party makes it into the legislature, which is messing up the calculus in the other two states, doesn't put Wulff's coalition in any jeopardy. Wullf is well-known and well-liked.
The challenger Wolfgang Jüttner has been a quiet party soldier in the Landtag 20 years and is not as well recognized. The SPD seems to be focussing more on their national theme of economic justice (minimum wage, etc.) than on their candidate or local issues.
We live in the media shadow from Hamburg, so we actually don't get very much news from our state capital of Hannover. Off the top of my head it's difficult to list the main themes of the campaign. The top issue is education. The CDU is for the traditional 3-track education system, and rolled back some of the reforms started under previous SPD governments. Luckily our elementary school in Jesteburg could keep its current form, but come 5th grade for Christopher we'll have to choose between the 3 tracks.
Another theme is the environment. Niedersachsen is the only German state with an FDP environment minister, which some think is a akin to having the fox watch the henhouse.
There were a couple of sparks as the SPD mentioned Wullf's private situation (separated, not divorced, new partner, expecting a baby), but this is Germany, not America, and noone cares.
Election day is January 27, the same day as in Hesse, where Roland Koch is is making headlines and is in real danger of losing his post. The coverage from Hannover that evening will be more of a footnote... "meanwhile in Niedersachsen Christian Wullf was able to stay in office with light losses".