Liberals, Pirates, and other winners: Germany has voted

 

Angela Merkel and Guido Westerwelle

Angela Merkel and Guido Westerwelle

THE VOTES ARE COUNTED, the champagne bottles stand empty, the tears of triumph and despair have been dried, and Europe’s most populous country is awakening to a new political dawn.

After four years of a grand coalition with the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) under Angela Merkel are about to return to their traditional coalition with the liberal (i.e. business-oriented)  Free Democratic Party (FDP) under its leader Guido Westerwelle, who will likely become foreign minister. The FDP achieved an astonishing triumph vis-à-vis 2005, climbing from 9.8% to a previously unimaginable 14.6%. Angela Merkel’s CDU slipped from 34.2% to 33.8% but remains the largest party. The future Conservative-Liberal government is expected to pursue privatization and deregulation, tax cuts, higher university fees, enhanced family benefits, tougher law and order policies,  increased domestic surveillance, and a more muscular foreign policy. This will come at the expense of social welfare programs, personal freedom, and environmental protection.

The SPD saw its worst result since the founding of the Federal Republic in 1949, plummeting from an anemic  34.2% in 2005 to an appalling 23% this year. …

Continued…

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