Parliamentary Digest 2nd October: Budget week and 30 years of German unity

This week was the budget debate week, with 4 days of debate in the Bundestag. Saturday was also the 30th anniversary of German reunification. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) introduced the budget for 2021 on Tuesday and there was a general debate. This was followed by debates by department over the next three days, as … Continue reading Parliamentary Digest 2nd October: Budget week and 30 years of German unity

News Digest 4th September

Right-extremists and the limits of free societies On Saturday, an estimated 38,000 people, including those protesting the corona restrictions, anti-vaxxers, Putin supporters, the far left and members of extreme right groups, such as the anti-state Reichsbürger and neo-Nazis, demonstrated in Berlin. The demonstration was organised by "Querdenken 711" (Lateral Thinking 711). Speakers included the nephew … Continue reading News Digest 4th September

Political parties in the Bundestag

The 2017 election saw a drop in support for the government coalition partners, the CDU/CSU Union (minus 65 seats) and the SPD (minus 40), while the far-right populists, the Alternative for Germany, entered the Bundestag for the first time with 94 seats. The FDP, which had failed to meet the 5% hurdle in 2013, re-entered … Continue reading Political parties in the Bundestag

SPD Chancellor candidate Scholz: reactions in Germany

In a surprise move this week, Germany's Social Democratic Party, the SPD, got well ahead of the game by announcing that Finance Minister Olaf Scholz will be the party's Chancellor candidate in next year's election. Although there has long been speculation about Scholz's nomination, the choice of candidate has been fiercely disputed in the party. … Continue reading SPD Chancellor candidate Scholz: reactions in Germany

Manuela Schwesig: leading the SPD fight-back in the east

Manuela Schwesig, SPD Minister President of the east German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern,  who is charged with spearheading  the mammoth task of reversing the SPD’s collapse in the east of the country, is like Franziska Giffey, one of the SPD’s ‘hope-bearers.' Foto: Thomas Fries / Lizenz: cc-by-sa-3.0 de Following the resignation of leader Andrea Nahes in June 2019, Schwesig was … Continue reading Manuela Schwesig: leading the SPD fight-back in the east

News Digest 24th July

EU Summit https://twitter.com/dw_politics/status/1285512073674469381 The first EU summit of Germany's Presidency was a tough five day affair - the second longest summit ever. The EU countries met to agree the budget for the next seven years: the planned corona recovery program of 750 billion euros was to be added to the budget, taking the figure to … Continue reading News Digest 24th July

News Digest 17th July

The K question and the CDU leadership As discussed in the News Digest last week, in the coming months the parties will be choosing their Chancellor candidates for the federal election next year and the CDU is also due to elect its new leader in December. In February, the current CDU chair Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer announced … Continue reading News Digest 17th July

Corona crisis: political winners and losers

CDU/CSU Union After plummeting to a historic low of 26%  before the corona crisis, the conservative CDU/CSU Union is currently polling on at least 34% (and as high as 38% in one poll) in an extraordinary turnaround. The government’s handling of the crisis is widely supported, with 72% approving. This is true of supporters of … Continue reading Corona crisis: political winners and losers

Fragmentation of the political landscape: the decline of the giants

Germany's political landscape is fragmenting. The country's two former giants - the conservative CDU/CSU Union and the social democratic SPD - are in decline. The Volksparteien - people's parties - once represented the vast majority of voters in Germany, sometimes winning over 40% of the vote each in federal elections; according to the latest polls, … Continue reading Fragmentation of the political landscape: the decline of the giants

Norbert Röttgen: the smart outsider who fell from grace

The first CDU leadership candidate out of the gates was a surprise: clever, well-dressed lawyer Norbert Röttgen. Described by the Suddeutsche Zeitung as an outsider and lone fighter, Röttgen is known as a quick witted politician and smooth speaker. Like leadership rivals Armin Laschet and Friedrich Merz, Röttgen comes from North-Rhine Westphalia. He was born … Continue reading Norbert Röttgen: the smart outsider who fell from grace

Armin Laschet: the continuity candidate of ‘measure and middle’

Shortly before the current leader of Germany's CDU, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, announced she was stepping down, Armin Laschet joked, "Is Germany ready for a male Chancellor?" Not long after that, the 58 year old Prime Minister of Germany's largest state, North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW), surprised many by making his bid to be CDU leader. Armin LaschetPhoto: Sandro … Continue reading Armin Laschet: the continuity candidate of ‘measure and middle’

Alexander Gauland: pushing the boundaries ever rightwards

Alexander Gauland is the joint leader of the parliamentary group of the far-right populist party, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).  Until November 2019, when he stepped down in favour of Tino Chrupulla,  he was also joint leader of the national party. He has had a seat in the Bundestag since 2017, the year the AfD … Continue reading Alexander Gauland: pushing the boundaries ever rightwards

News Digest 6th March

Corona virus On Monday, it was confirmed that 10 of Germany's 16 states now had cases of the virus, totalling around 130 in all. Some large public gatherings, including international trade fairs, were cancelled or delayed, as were some flights. People started to stock up on longlife foods and other products such as toilet paper, … Continue reading News Digest 6th March

News Digest 28th February

Hamburg election Some rare good news for the SPD came on Sunday, as the party won the election in Hamburg with 39.2%. The Greens came second with 24.2% and the CDU vote sank by nearly 5% to 11.2%. Early indications were that the AfD would fail to pass the 5% minimum to be elected to … Continue reading News Digest 28th February

Friedrich Merz: right-wing challenger for the CDU crown

Of the three prospective candidates to take over as Chair of the CDU in the wake of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer’s (AKK) resignation, Merz, who is on the right of the party and who is seen as a champion of business, was initially viewed as the most likely to succeed her. Friedrich MerzFoto: Michael Lucan, Likenz: CC-BY-SA … Continue reading Friedrich Merz: right-wing challenger for the CDU crown