nuances newsletter - Election Special


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nuances newsletter - Election Special

  1. 1. nuances GERMAN FEDERAL ELECTION SPECIAL N°12 – SEPTEMBER 2013 .......................................................................................... THE RESULTS .......................................................................................... MERKEL MAINTAINS POWER. – THE RESULTS OF THE GERMAN FEDERAL ELECTION: – Angela Merkel’s CDU party have once again won a majority of the votes (41.7%) in Germany’s national election, which took place today Sunday 22 September 2013. This represents an increase of 7.9 points. Early reports suggested an absolute majority for the Chancellor however this now seems unlikely with the CDU party missing out by about 4 parliamentary seats. The next biggest party, the SPD, will enter parliament with 25.6% of the vote. However Merkel’s current coalition partner, the FDP, will not be returning to parliament having failed to secure the minimum 5%. Both the Left Party (Post Communist) and the Greens will remain in parliament, with 8.4% and 8.5% respectively. Turnout nationwide was 73%. A QUICK ANALYSIS: TRANSPORT POLICY The CSU, Merkel’s CDU sister party in Bavaria, has received more than 50% of the vote in Bavaria, which counts for over 7.4% nationwide. This will give the Bavarian faction a very strong position in Berlin. Tonight on a television panel discussion it was made clear by Gerda Hasselfeldt, leader of the CSU in parliament, that road pricing for cars on the German autobahn was on the agenda. Merkel, who has consistently refused to entertain this argument, insisted that road pricing would not be a clashing point and that a solution would be found. EUROPE The Dutch newspaper, de Volkskrant deplores that only the Germans can vote. This Dutch perspective implies that the election victory of Angela Merkel is also highly Federal Election Results CDU - 41,8% SPD - 25,6% Die Grünen - 8,5% Die Linke - 8,4% Topics / Themen: THE RESULTS 1 Merkel maintains power / Merkel scheitert knapp an absoluter Mehrheit Results from Hessen / Wahlkrimi auch in Hessen BACKGROUND INFORMATION 3 Introduction Party Colours Energiewende German Election System ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 6 New Hires and Goodbyes / Interna Angela Merkel, CDU Foto: CDU/Dominik Butzmann Peer Steinbrück, SPD Foto: SPD/Susie Knoll
  2. 2. nuances GERMAN FEDERAL ELECTION SPECIAL N°12 – SEPTEMBER 2013 significant on the European level. The next important election is the one for the European Parliament, which will take place on 25 May 2014. Regarding the European Union, Angela Merkel indicates that she wants to have both: more integration on the EU-level on the one hand, on the other hand giving more power back to the member states. ENERGY So far there are no comments on energy efficiency policy. MERKEL SCHEITERT KNAPP AN ABSOLUTER MEHRHEIT. – ERGEBNISSE DER BUNDESTAGSWAHL 2013: – In der gestrigen Bundestagswahl konnte Angela Merkel’s CDU wieder die Mehrheit der Stimmen (41,7%) für sich gewinnen. Dies bedeutet einen Anstieg von 7,9% im Vergleich zur Wahl 2009. Erste Hochrechnungen sahen zunächst die absolute Mehrheit bei der CDU/CSU, doch dies scheint mittlerweile unwahrscheinlich, da den Schwesterparteien dafür 4 Sitze im Bundestag fehlen. Zweitstärkste Kraft ist die SPD mit 25,6% der Stimmen. Die FDP, bisheriger Koalitionspartner der CDU/CSU scheidet aus dem Bundestag aus. Sowohl die Grünen als auch die Linke ziehen mit, 8,5% bzw. 8,4% sicher ins Parlament ein. Die Wahlbeteiligung lag mit 73% höher als 2009. TRANSPORT POLITIK Im Vorfeld der Wahlen hatte sich CSU-Chef Horst Seehofer für eine PKW-Maut für Ausländer auf deutschen Straßen stark gemacht, diese Idee wurde zunächst von Merkel (CDU) abgelehnt. Nach der Verkündung der ersten Hochrechnungen waren sich die Schwesterparteien allerdings einig, dass eine gemeinsame Lösung für die PKW-Maut gefunden werden wird unter Berücksichtigung des Europarechts, sagten Angela Merkel, CDU, und Gerda Hasselfeldt, Fraktionschefin der CSU im Bundestag in der Elefantenrunde am Wahlabend. Einig sind sich alle Parteien, dass das marode Straßen- und Autobahn-Netz in Deutschland ein Investitionsprogramm benötigt. Die SPD sowie die Grünen wollen zudem die Ausweitung der LKW- Maut für kleinere LKWs auf 3,5 Tonnen. EUROPA Die niederländische Zeitung, de Volkskrant bedauert, dass nur die Deutschen zu dieser Wahl antreten konnten. Diese Sicht impliziert, dass dem Wahlsieg von Merkel im gesamten Europa eine hohe Bedeutung zugemessen wird. Die nächste wichtige Wahl ist die des Europäischen Parlaments, die am 25. Mai 2014 entschieden wird. Bezüglich der europäischen Zusammenarbeit deutete Merkel an, dass sie sowohl mehr EU-Integration, aber in anderen Bereichen wieder mehr Entscheidungskraft für die Mitgliedsstaaten wünsche. ENERGIE EFFIZIENZ Zur Energie Effizienz Politik liegen keine Kommentare vor. .......................................................................................... RESULTS FROM HESSEN. – UNCLEAR RESULTS ALSO IN HESSEN. – The regional elections in Hessen also took place on Sunday. Here also the CDU maintained a majority with 38.8 % of the vote. Volker Bouffier, head of the party in the region increased his vote this time around however will feel home alone having lost his coalition partner FDP. . Hessen Election Results CDU - 38,8 SPD - 30,8 Die Grünen 10,9% Die Linke - 5,2%
  3. 3. nuances GERMAN FEDERAL ELECTION SPECIAL N°12 – SEPTEMBER 2013 WAHLKRIMI AUCH IN HESSEN. Ministerpräsident Volker Bouffier gewann mit der CDU 38,8% der Stimmen, was die Partei zur stärksten Kraft in Hessen macht. Die SPD kommt auf 30,8% der Stimmen und auch die Grünen schneiden mit 10.9% besser als auf Bundesebene ab. Die Linke wäre mit 5,2% wieder knapp im Landesparlament vertreten. Der Wiedereinzug der FDP ist vermutlich gescheitert. Die letzten Hochrechnungen sahen die FDP bei 4,8%. Somit gibt es bei der Landtagswahl wieder die bekannten „hessischen Verhältnisse“, die sich durch eine deutliche Unübersichtlichkeit auszeichnen. Zukünftige Koalitionsbildungen sind - wie so häufig in Hessen - relativ unklar. .......................................................................................... BACKGROUND INFO .......................................................................................... INTRODUCTION. This article gives background analysis about the German political system. The Bundesrat, (the Upper House of the Parliament) is represented by 16 member states (federal states of Germany) and has a strong say in many policy areas such as energy and taxation. The Federal government have faced opposition from the Bundesrat quite often in the past because the majority of the Bundestag, (the Lower House of the Parliament) is different to the majority of the Bundesrat even if they both have a majority of one party. There is always opposition because a lot of issues deal with budgets. .......................................................................................... PARTY COLOURS. – A QUICK INTRODUCTION TO THE GERMAN PARTY SPECTRUM. – The insignia of each party is the party colour, far easier to associate with the abbreviated full political party names. The abbreviation rather the acronym does not correspondingly spell out the full party name i.e. SPD ought to be SDP for Social Democrats but for the German- English conversion, letters are transposed. These strong tints are:  black – CDU/CSU, chaired by Angela Merkel and chancellor candidate  red – SPD, chaired by Sigmar Gabriel; Peer Steinbrück, top candidate  yellow – FDP, chaired by Philipp Rösler; Rainer Brüderle, top candidate  green – Die Grünen, co-chaired by Claudia Roth and Cem Özdemir; Jürgen Trittin and Katrin Göring-Eckardt, top candidates  dark red – Die Linke, (post-communists), co- chaired by Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger; candidate team: Gregor Gysi, Sahra Wagenknecht and six others. The black is the Chancellor’s Party CDU/CSU (Christian Democratic Union of Germany/Christian Social Union.) CSU is the sister party of the CDU in Bavaria, a southern state of Germany which is bordered by Austria and Czech Republic to the East. The Chancellor has already done two terms of office (8 years) might serve longer than Margaret Thatcher, depending on the outcome of the election negotiations. She is seen by most of the Germans as a safe pair of hands, weathering the Greeks’ storm and the risks of globalisation. She embodies the famous saying of the Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer in one of the slogans: no Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel, SPD Foto: SPD Büro T.S-G. 2008 Volker Bouffier, CDU Foto:
  4. 4. nuances GERMAN FEDERAL ELECTION SPECIAL N°12 – SEPTEMBER 2013 experiments. If you take the basic appeal of a party leader as one of the determinants of election results, then Angela Merkel’s quiet assertiveness might have just been the ticket for re-election. But people’s opinions do shift subject to prevailing wind of rhetoric, so she may not rest on her laurels yet. Angela Merkel’s opponent to the candidacy as Federal Chancellor was Peer Steinbrück of the SPD, who is viewed by the public as an able politician and experienced economist. As the former Minister of Finance during the black-red (CDU/CSU and SPD) coalition, Steinbrück is regarded as an old hand. The SPD is the oldest party in the Bundestag, celebrating its 150th birthday this year. They have a strong hold on thirteen federal states out of the sixteen. Likewise, they outnumber other parties in the Bundesrat, the Upper House of the Parliament. Steinbrück promised, once he gets into office, to address the lack of parity on women’s representation in employment and remuneration. He is upfront on the government’s savings in time of crisis as the paradox of thrift. He also wants to address the issue of what he sees as Germany having the biggest low pay sector by introducing standard minimum wage. Overall, he has big plans for improving the welfare sector: housing, pensions, hospitals and childcare centres. Ensuring greater social justice, the slogan: “Das Wir entscheidet” means let the populace decide. High income earners are rather opposed to Steinbrück due to his assertion to burden them with higher taxes. One thing which is a relief to taxpayers is that any future rescue fund to be built up will not rely on their purse instead Steinbrück plans to ask big European banks for help. His plans appeal only to 25.6% of the electorate. The FDP, represented by its top candidate Rainer Brüderle did not make it into parliament. The party stands for market liberalism and tax reductions. In 2009 the FDP gained 15 per cent of the votes, which led to a black-yellow coalition with the CDU. However, in this centre-right government the FDP failed to implement its key objectives like decreasing taxes and strengthening the free market. During the election campaign, the FDP kept on pursuing its strong liberalism by rejecting national minimum wage and refusing legal thresholds concerning energy efficiency and renewable energy. With such programme and due to lack of vigour during the past legislative period, the FDP was not able to convince the electorate. In contrast to the FDP, the Greens, with its top candidates Jürgen Trittin and Katrin Göring-Eckardt, can be positioned on the centre-left of the political party spectrum. Their party programme is based on eco-friendly as well as equal opportunity policies and they are considered as the German pioneers for green energy. During the red (SPD)- green coalition (1998 to 2005) with Trittin serving as Federal Minister for Energy, National Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the Greens were already promoting to get rid of nuclear energy. This main ideological goal of the Greens has been adopted by Angela Merkel and the CDU when Fukushima disaster struck. Initially, the Chancellor was going to renew the licences (subject to tests) of nuclear power plants but eventually reversed this and introduced the so-called energy transition (see below for more detailed information). The Greens’ election campaign continued to be based on the promotion of wind and solar energy as alternatives to fossil fuels. They have high expectations of the current election due to their electoral success in the federal state Katrin Göring-Eckardt and Jürgen Trittin, Die Grünen Foto: Bündnis 90/Die Grünen Rainer Brüderle, FDP Foto: FDP
  5. 5. nuances GERMAN FEDERAL ELECTION SPECIAL N°12 – SEPTEMBER 2013 Gregor Gysi Foto: Die Linke. Bundestagsfraktion of Baden-Württemberg in 2011 when they pushed the CDU off the throne after 58 years of reign. However, this victory could not be repeated on the federal level by achieving only 8.5% of the votes. As an advocate of democratic socialism and a proponent for higher minimum wage, the dark red - Die Linke’s (post- communist) candidate Gregor Gysi is a lawyer by profession. People talked about him as being an eloquent speaker. As expected, die Linke gained 8.4% in the polls but will not be part of any coalition as they are seen by all other parties as an unbearable partner. .......................................................................................... ENERGIEWENDE. ONE BIG CHALLENGE - AND OPPORTUNITY AT THE SAME TIME - GERMAN POLITICS HAS TO FACE: THE ENERGIEWENDE. – Energiewende means energy transition. It is the move towards the development of generating energy from renewable sources in an efficient and sustainable manner with the end goal of abolishing non-renewable sources. Surprisingly, it was the CDU which initiated this transition provoked by the Fukushima disaster. The CDU/CSU-FDP government looked at this as a lesson to be learnt and started to pursue less risky, more environmentally friendly and cleaner energy policies. This was the main focus of the black (CDU/CSU) campaign for this general election reneging on all energy policies and nuclear power commitments they originally stood for. The traditional core voters of the CDU/CSU perceived this complete u-turn as disconcerting, so with companies providing energy especially the nuclear power energy sector felt the same and were shocked as they were promised a lease of life for a little bit longer. This new direction is seen as the way forward, the better if not the only alternative to dependency from non- renewable sources obtained from fossil fuels: oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear fuel (uranium) which are bound to run out. It is not only a matter of depleting resources but the real issue is how they are handling the green-house gas emission that affects climatic change. There is also the issue of reducing our current use and consumption of energy from these fossil fuels. As mentioned earlier on, the idea of a German energy transition has its roots originally in the Green party. Thirteen years ago, the German Renewable Energy Act – EEG (Erneuerbare-Energien Gesetz) came into force under the red-green coalition. The EEG core is reducing cost and improved efficiency in producing energy. By now all political parties in fact are in agreement on EEG. As always in any high technological innovations, it has its inherent problem, the initial cost is high but it may prove in- expensive in the long run. Not only is the Energiewende cost-intensive, there are also hiccups in producing energy from renewable sources. The intermittent supply of wind to power the turbines and cloud cover on the solar panels make it volatile. This volatility has given the industry plenty of scope to think about. They now have to work on capacity market issues, ensuring guaranteed supply of electricity at peak times. Already, disadvantages of this volatility have been felt in Germany. This has caused an increased demand for coal energy to efficiently fill in the gaps. Eventually, this led to a rise of CO2-emissions which is actually intended to be reduced. The capacity market will bring in incentives to have sufficient reliable capacity on both sides of supply and demand of the economic theory. The industry itself especially the technology sector is one of the biggest consumers of energy. To achieve a sustainable green economy, environmental protection, industry and politics have to go hand in hand and a vivid exchange is necessary.
  6. 6. nuances GERMAN FEDERAL ELECTION SPECIAL N°12 – SEPTEMBER 2013 The Energiewende would definitely put Germany into the forefront of change in energy policies and would set the trend towards green economy across the European Union. However, EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia is at the moment challenging the whole construction of the Renewable Energy Law including the energy efficiency legislation of Germany. .......................................................................................... HOW DOES THE ELECTION WORK? – THE GERMAN FEDERAL ELECTION SYSTEM IN A NUTSHELL: – The election process in governing is not as straightforward as it seems. The voting system is called mixed-member proportional representation (MMP). This has evolved from its historical background during the Weimar Republic of direct proportional representation, when having many parties without a majority proved difficult to govern. Any eligible voter (from 18 onwards) casts two ballots. The first is for the constituency candidate (FPTP= first-past-the post) and the second is for a party’s regional list. A voter can vote for their local MP without taking into account his/her party affiliation hence the composition of different colours (political parties) in the legislative body which matters in the second ballot. Statistically there are 598 seats to be filled in the Bundestag. A party would need a minimum of 300 seats to win a majority. If a party wins more votes via the second ballot then there will be the so called overhang seats. Overhang seats happen when a party wins more constituency seats than it would be entitled from its proportion of (party list) votes. Such seats are compensated by creating additional seats to ensure the correct composition of the parliament according to second ballot votes. For minor parties, they have to strive to get the 5-per-cent threshold to have any representation in the Bundestag. As stipulated by the Electoral Law, the five per cent of the total party votes is required or no one is elected from party list although a candidate who has won a constituency wins his/her seat. The other way round, is if a party wins at least 3 constituency seats. This applied to Die Linke (in the last Bundestag). .......................................................................................... ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .......................................................................................... NEW HIRES AND GOODBYE. – KEVIN JASCHIK AND ISABEL HOFFMANN JOINING NUANCES PUBLIC AFFAIRS. SIR STEPHEN SHERBOURNE LEAVING FOR THE HOUSE OF LORDS. – nuances public affairs welcomes new hires Kevin Jaschik and Isabel Hoffmann. Jaschik worked inter alia for McKinsey & Company in network-based industries and studied Business Economics as well as International Politics in Göttingen, Berlin, Amsterdam and London. At nuances public affairs he is responsible for clients concerning energy and energy efficiency. Isabel Hoffmann was a research assistant for the Project “Mediterranean Institute Berlin” at the Humboldt- University focussing on energy security. In 2012 she finished her studies in Contemporary European Studies and Communication Science with stays in Munich, Dublin, Bath, Prague and Berlin. For nuances public affairs she will consult clients from the field of energy and energy efficiency. Our long-standing senior adviser, Sir Stephen Sherbourne, has been appointed by David Cameron as a member of the House of Lords, the upper house of the British Parliament. He has taken the title of Lord Sherbourne of Didsbury. Isabel HoffmannKevin Jaschik
  7. 7. nuances GERMAN FEDERAL ELECTION SPECIAL N°12 – SEPTEMBER 2013 INTERNA – KEVIN JASCHIK UND ISABEL HOFFMANN VERSTÄRKEN NUANCES PUBLIC AFFAIRS. SIR STEPHEN SHERBOURNE VERLÄSST DIE AGENTUR FÜR DAS HOUSE OF LORDS – nuances public affairs freut sich über die Neuzugänge Kevin Jaschik sowie Isabel Hoffmann. Jaschik, der unter anderem fünf Jahre für McKinsey & Company in netzwerkbasierten Industrien tätig war, studierte Betriebswirtschaftslehre und Internationale Politik in Göttingen, Berlin, Amsterdam und London. Bei nuances public affairs ist er für die Betreuung von Kunden aus den Bereichen Energie und Energieeffizienz verantwortlich. Isabel Hoffmann war zuvor als Forschungsassistentin beim Projekt „Mittelmeer Institut Berlin“ der Humboldt- Universität mit dem Fokus Energiesicherheit beschäftigt. Sie schloss 2012 ihr Studium in Contemporary European Studies sowie Kommunikationswissenschaft ab und studierte in Bath, Prag, Berlin, München und Dublin. Auch sie wird sich vorwiegend Kunden aus dem Energie- /Effizienz-Bereich annehmen. Unser langjähriger Senior Berater Sir Stephen Sherbourne, wurde vom britischen Premierminister David Cameron zum Mitglied im House of Lords, dem Oberhaus des Britischen Parlaments, berufen. Er trägt nun den Titel Lord Sherbourne of Didsbury. .......................................................................................... Please feel free to send questions and comments to Für Fragen und Rückmeldungen wenden Sie sich bitte an * If you wish to be removed from the newsletter mailing list, please contact and place “unsubscribe” in the subject heading. * Sollten Sie den Newsletter nicht weiter beziehen wollen, senden Sie uns eine e-mail an: mit der Nachricht: „unsubscribe“.