Germany's regional elections: how bad is it for the CDU?
Germany's governing CDU has suffered its worst results to date in regional elections in the states of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. In Baden-Württemberg, the Greens won with 32.6 percent of the vote while the CDU lagged behind with 24.1 percent. In Rhineland-Palatinate, the SPD was the strongest party with 35.7 percent while the CDU slipped to 27.6 percent. Europe's press sees this as a major development as the "super election year" kicks off in Germany.
Results do not bode well for this autumn
Alarm bells should be ringing at the CDU, the BBC's Germany correspondent Damien McGuinness comments:
“The results are even worse than expected, and are being blamed on how the CDU is managing the pandemic. Rising infection numbers and the slow vaccine rollout have soured the national mood. And there is fury that some conservative MPs have earned huge commissions on government deals to procure masks. Angela Merkel herself is still popular. But with just six months to go before her final term ends, these results don't bode well for the chances of her party in the general election.”
The payback for recent scandals
For Dnevnik, the reasons for the defeat are obvious:
“Politicians who did not adhere to the Covid measures, as well as Bundestag members who demanded high commissions for brokering deals with masks are to blame for the result. Despite the fact that [the CDU and its sister party CSU] dealt swiftly with the sins of their MPs, who in the end were forced to resign, their reputation has suffered irreparable damage. All the more so as it's uncertain whether the transgressions discovered so far are indeed just isolated cases. At the beginning of the year it still looked as if the CDU could be optimistic about the elections to the Bundestag in the autumn, and it was just a question of who would be the next Chancellor, Armin Laschet or Markus Söder from the CSU. Now, however, the situation is completely different.”
Difficult transition into the post-Merkel era
Die Presse discusses the ramifications of the CDU's poor results:
“The setbacks are rubbing off on Armin Laschet and the party at the national level. For the CDU is already mired in a series of bankruptcies and scandals. ... No one knows how deep the black swamp that has recently bubbled up is. ... A dynamic could now develop that will plunge the conservative camp into serious turbulence six months before the parliamentary elections. For the question of whether the state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia is the right choice as the CDU's chancellor candidate will now be more urgent than ever. ... This black election Sunday has not made the conservatives' transition into the post-Merkel era any easier.”
These Greens are showing how it's done
Dagens Nyheter attributes the success of the Greens in Baden-Württemberg mainly to their leader in that state, Winfried Kretschmann:
“The success of the Greens in Germany has to do with the collapse of the SPD, and certainly with the climate problem. But they also grew when the 'realists' ousted the party's fundamentalist phalanx. Yes, there is still enthusiasm for bans and opposition to free trade, but the Greens are no longer afraid of growth. No one embodies that more than Kretschmann. ... He combines concern about the climate with the realisation that hundreds of thousands of jobs in the German car industry can't be replaced in a hurry. ... If the Greens and the CDU can govern together in Baden-Württemberg - and soon perhaps also in Berlin - this should not be out of the question for their colleagues in Sweden.”