Barely, Slightly...29 Sep 2009
It's been two days since the German Bundestag election, which a center-right coalition of Union and FDP was able to win, and I haven't yet thought of anything to say. I've been waiting for someone more intelligent than I to comment, but since she hasn't posted yet, I'll have to wing it.
The best news is that the worst result was avoided, namely the continuation of the do-nothing grand coalition of Union and SPD with both parties shackled to one another. Whether or not one agrees with the direction, at least the new government will have a direction, which the grand coalition (by definition) did not.
The new center-right coalition is also stable, in that it does not depend on so-called "overhang" seats (which have been declared unconstitutional, but only in 2011) nor on the whims of the junior partner (a weakened SPD might have been tempted to later dump the Union in favor the Greens and the Left party).
Both main parties lost ground, but the SPD lost big time, with over 38% fewer votes than in 2005. The minor parties all had record results, in particular the ex-communist Left party was able to gain at the expense of the SPD. The SPD will now have time to sort out its defeat and how to mend fences with the Left, if it doesn't want to see politics dominated by the Union for decades to come.
As for us, we're not disappointed to see a more pro-business slant for the next few years, although I would have wished for some Green influence against nuclear power. Change comes slowly in Germany, so new directions come only barely and slightly, but better than no direction at all.
It's also worth mentioning the Pirate Party, which on a platform of internet freedom and data privacy won 2% of the vote (falling well short of the 5% threshold to enter the Bundestag). I personally find the Pirate Party to be a waste of time and effort. The issues they raise are important, in fact too important to relegate to a splinter party. They should be lobbying today's politicians instead of starting a new party that may or (most likely) may not have influence in 5 years time.