Steinmeier bringt Frieden
Originally uploaded by dkdas.de
They story being reported everywhere at the moment is that the CDU/CSU have won the elections together with the FDP and will now be able to govern Germany in a so-called black-yellow coalition.
Slightly more sophisticated reports might point out that the CDU results were mostly static, and that the gains were almost entirely made by the liberal FDP.
However, in my view the big story is the collapse of the SPD. They have lost a third of their support, going from 222 seats to 146 (the results are not final yet).
All other parties have gained: CDU/CSU (13 more seats), the Greens (17), the Left party (22) and FDP (32).
This seems to be very similar to what’s going to happen in the UK soon.
Labour’s support is plummeting, and the Tories seem to be gaining mainly by default, simply by not being Labour, with the LibDems staying where they are.
Something similar could be seen at the recent European elections, which just demonstrates that the collapse of the social-democratic parties is a Europe-wide phenomenon.
The way I see it, these parties in most countries tried to move to the right because they could see their voters were becoming wealthier and thus more right-wing, and this worked like a treat for a while.
Gradually, however, voters became disenchanted with these parties that seem to believe in one thing but to do the opposite, with parties both to the left and the right making gains.
The first-past-the-post system in the UK means that there is no party to the left of Labour to hoover up unhappy Labour voters, so instead turnout is falling, with all other parties profiting because their voters now make up a larger share of a smaller pot of votes.
In most other countries, parties on the left are gaining, such as die Linke in Germany and SF in Denmark.
It will be interesting to see over the next decade whether Labour, SPD and their sister parties throughout Europe will find a new raison d’être, or whether they will be reduced to smaller, less significant parties, like the liberal parties (the LibDems, FDP etc.) during the second half of the 20th century.