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Wednesday, August 21, 2013 1:14 PM

Political Hot Potato; Germany Election Update: Snoozer or Big Surprise?

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In response to Surprise Awakening Awaits Merkel in September Election: No Stable Government, a close friend of mine pinged me with this comment "I think it will be a snoozer. It's just a question of whether Steinmeier or Bruderle is vice-chancellor."

72% Still Undecided

My friend displays quite a bit of confidence given the Vast Majority of Voters Still Undecided.

Via translation from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)...

Nearly three-quarters of voters have still not finalized who they want to vote in the Bundestag. Currently, black and yellow is on a par with the left-wing of the SPD, the Greens and the Left Party.

72 percent of respondents stated that it is in principle possible for them to choose another, or even several other parties.

63 percent were of the view that nothing had been decided yet, although 64 percent expect an election victory of the CDU / CSU and Chancellor Angela Merkel.
AFD Update

Reader Bernd who lives in Germany is sticking with his story. He writes ....
Hello Mish

A few noteworthy things happened during the weekend.

1: Manfred Güllner of FORSA Institute is speculating that AfD will enter German Parliament. He believes that AfD might actually have a latent potential of 7-8%, which is significant.

2: Der Spiegel reports in a detailed article, that CDU is contemplating a second (renewed) election, if a coalition between CDU/CSU/SPD proves to be the only option after Sept 22nd. Under no circumstances does the party want to enter into such a “grand coalition”.

In a poll conducted last week, only 10% of voters believe the Euro-Crisis to be ended. Only 30% of voters have decided who to vote for.

I maintain: September 22nd will be a day full of surprises. I have made my predictions months ago. I see no reason to change my basic position. It will be difficult for Germany to find a stable Government in the coming four years, unless it is a CDU/CSU/SPD coalition. This, however, is becoming very difficult, considering personal animosities between the leading figures in those parties.

AfD will likely be in Parliament. I wonder, if AfD might be a coalition partner for Mm Merkel. Her latest statements regarding Europe, the EU and Germany are much less convincing sounding, than earlier. Her position seems to near that of David Cameron: bring back power to the national States, rather than the EU. If Merkel sernses changing sentiment in Germany, she will quickly position herself at the helm of this new sentiment. She is the ultimate opportunist!

Best regards

Manfred Güllner of FORSA Institute on AfD

From Junge Freiheit via translation, please consider Forsa chief concerned about possible AFD success
The head of the Forsa polling institute, Manfred Güllner has shown its concern about the possible success of the alternative for Germany (AFD) in the general election. "I have a bad feeling," he said, according to the Star. Previously he had been convinced that the euro-critics had no chance in the election.

In recent Forsa poll for Stern, the AFD comes to three percent of the vote. The Union is 40 percent, the SPD at 23 Third place secured the Greens at 13 per cent. Left Party and the FDP can expect eight and five percent of the vote. The pirates come to three percent.
Der Spiegel on "Options"

Merkel herself does not rule out a "grand coalition" but is such a coalition workable?

How? SPD is pointing the finger at Merkel for numerous reasons. The Greens want tax hikes and more integration with Europe than Merkel wants, and even CSU party leaders express doubt.

Via translation from Fear of Big Coalition: CDU election scenario plays through.
"A new grand coalition would be missing the anchor of stability", says the parliamentary secretary of the CSU state group in the Bundestag Stefan Müller.

Distrust of SPD leader Gabriel is deep. Many insinuate SPD would leave a black-red coalition government at the first opportunity. "The SPD is toying more and more with the left. It is no longer the SPD of 2005," warns Christian Democrat Laschet. The threat of a leftist coalition would hang like a sword of Damocles over a grand coalition.

After a campaign for tax increases and Veggie Day, a government with the Greens, would be difficult to convey. Quietly, the considerations in both camps is for new elections.

If there is no clear majority, it depends on the President. Joachim Gauck must propose a candidate for the parliamentary election of the Chancellor. But what if there is no candidate who could get a majority? Then the choice from the perspective of the Union strategists would have failed. Elections are a last resort if Gauck did not want to take the risk of a minority government.

It would be a situation as it has not yet experienced the Republic. But the CDU strategists say "Better a new election with the chance of a stable government than a permanently unstable grand coalition."
More Polls

Bernd pinged me again today with more polls.
Hello Mish

Two major polling institutes came out today with detailed analyses regarding the coming German elections.

Institut Allensbach gave a very detailed an long winded report. In a nutshell the report says that the situation at this moment is rather unclear. They predict a surge benefiting smaller parties.

Since the majority of voters apparently are not yet decided they feel hard pressed to make a clear prediction. Especially for AfD and Die Piraten they find it extremely difficult to say. Allensbach has a potential for AfD at 8%, though in today's poll they put them at 3%. For Die Piraten they put them at 4% with a potential at 6%.

Allensbach argues Die Piraten might do better than AfD. Allensbach seems to have observed, that data protection and NSA/BND scandals play into their hands more, than into AfD's.

Institut Forsa, Mr. Güllner came out today with a clear statement that he sees AfD in Parliament, despite of them not showing up in the polls with more than 3%.

His argument: the admission by Finance minister Schäuble on Monday for a third rescue package for Greece has put Euro and Euro rescue politics back on the agenda.

Forsa too are quite astonished by the high number of undecided voters at this point in time. Forsa  believes that CDU and AfD will profit from this development.

In summary: elections in Germany are certainly anything but a foregone conclusion. Clearly two leading polling organizations are beginning to throw out "fog" to mask their previous predictions in order to mitigate any further backlash from their poor prediction results in previous elections.

Best regards

Political Hot Potato

I am still attempting to figure out the reason German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble came out with a political hot potato statement "Greece needs third bail-out" right before the election.
"There will have to be another programme in Greece," said Mr Schaeuble, addressing a campaign audience in northern Germany. However he maintained that, despite this, there would be no further debt haircut for Athens.

Just hours before Mr Schaeuble spoke, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was quoted in a regional newspaper dismissing questions about further aid for Greece, saying there was no point in discussing the matter until its second package expires at the end of next year.

Opposition leaders, who have relentlessly accused the government of hiding the truth about Greece, pounced on the finance minister's comments. Peer Steinbrueck, leader of Germany's Social Democrat Party, declared it was "time that Frau Merkel tells people the truth". Juergen Tritten, head of the country's Green party, also seized the opportunity to hit out at the Chancellor.
Pre-Election Backlash

Please consider German minister's Greek aid comments spark pre-election backlash.
Schaeuble has said in the past that international lenders may have to consider a new aid programme for Greece after the existing one runs out at the end of 2014. But he has never described this as inevitable, as he appeared to do on Tuesday.

Schaeuble's comments played into the hands of the opposition, who throughout the election campaign have accused Merkel of failing to tell voters the truth about Greece.

"I have made clear that saving Europe and keeping the continent together comes at a cost, also for us Germans," Merkel's Social Democrat (SPD) challenger Peer Steinbrueck said after Schaeuble spoke. "Now it's time that Frau Merkel tells people the truth."

Greens leader Juergen Trittin said Schaeuble had exposed Merkel's "deceit" and criticised the chancellor for advocating austerity policies in Greece that had failed to reduce its debt load.

"Greece is a dangerous subject. It is not clever to bring it up again just as there was a general feeling of calm," said Emnid pollster Klaus-Peter Schoeppner.
Schaeuble's Motivation?

Without a doubt Schaeuble had a reason for his statements. But what was it?

He told the truth of course, but since when do politicians voluntarily admit the painful truth at inopportune times?

Schaeuble's move seems to have backfired, unless of course the intent all along was for the statements to backfire.

Whatever the reason, the political backlash may be enough to throw some of the opposition parties above the 5% threshold. In addition, his statements increased the animosity between parties. Both results make a grand coalition less likely.

I side with reader Bernd. The election appears to be anything but a "snoozer".

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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