Wednesday, May 5, 2010

'Knife-Edge' State Election Could Curb Merkel's Power

An election on May 9 in Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, could transform the country's political landscape and weaken Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose conservative Christian Democrats have been hit by revelations of funding irregularities.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has effectively been on hold for months pending a regional election on Sunday, May 9, in Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia.

Major domestic reforms of healthcare, the tax system and energy policy have been shelved because Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats and their coalition allies, the pro-business Free Democrats, have been at pains to avoid spoiling their chances of remaining in power in this key western state of 17 million inhabitants, home to the industrial Ruhr region.

In their jockeying for votes, the two parties have been trying to score points off each other. Their inactivity and persistent in-fighting in Berlin could end up losing them the election, which would rob Merkel of her center-right majority in the Bundesrat, Germany's upper legislative chamber. That means she would need opposition approval for any major policies. If North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) doesn't go Merkel's way on Sunday, she will be considerably less powerful.

Some critics say Merkel spent weeks stonewalling on aid for Greece because she didn't want to take any unpopular measures to bail it out with German taxpayers' money before the NRW vote. In truth, though, the debt crisis hasn't been a dominant factor in the campaign, and the major opposition parties have not been campaigning against a Greek rescue.

Opinion polls indicate a neck-and-neck race between the center-right coalition of governor Jürgen Rüttgers, who has been beset by series of minor but damaging scandals in recent months, and the center-left camp of Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens. But the vote could lead to a variety of alternative coalitions including a tie-up between Rüttgers' Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Greens, or an alliance between the SPD, Greens and Left Party.

To read more:,1518,692985,00.html


Means on Sunday we have election in our home state. Still not sure what to vote for and which vote would be best for us and our future. I have a certain tendency, but still pondering if that is the right decision to vote for. Will be a interesting election night on Sunday on TV when the results come in. Will watch that with lots of interest.

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