Merkel's CDU Trounced In Most Populous State Elections Over Austerity; Pirates Strong

Tyler Durden's picture

Another weekend, another stunner in local European elections, this time as Merkel's CDU gets a record low vote in the state elections of Germany's most populous state North Rhein-Westphalia. According to a preliminary projections by ARD, the breakdown is as follows:

  • SPD:39%
  • CDU: 26%
  • Greens:12%
  • Pirates: 7.5%
  • FDP: 8.5%
  • Left:2.5%

Good news: no neo-nazis. Bad news: record defeat for the Chancellor. And the bext news for twitter fans: Angela_D_Merkel ist aus. Hannelore Kraft: in.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives suffered a crushing defeat on Sunday in an election in Germany's most populous state, exit polls showed, a result which could embolden the left opposition to step up attacks on her European austerity policies.


Merkel remains popular at home for her steady handling of the euro zone debt crisis, but the sheer scale of her party's defeat respresents a heavy blow that could tilt the German political landscape and leave her more vulnerable to domestic critics.


According to an exit poll for public broadcaster ARD, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) won 39 percent of the vote and will have enough to form a stable majority with the Greens, who scored 12 percent.


The two left-leaning parties had run a fragile minority government for the past two years under popular SPD leader Hannelore Kraft, whose decisive victory on Sunday could propel her to national prominence.


Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) saw their support plunge to just 26 percent, down from nearly 35 percent in 2010, and the worst result in the state since World War Two.

And a preview from Reuters:

Angela Merkel's conservatives looked set for a heavy election loss in Germany's most populous state on Sunday that could give the left momentum before next year's federal election and fuel criticism of the chancellor's European austerity drive.


North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), an industrial state in western Germany with an economy and population roughly the size of the Netherlands, has a history of influencing national politics.


First exit polls were due at 1600 GMT and were expected to show Hannelore Kraft of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) trouncing her Christian Democrat (CDU) rival Norbert Roettgen, who is Merkel's environment minister.


"The SPD will get back in," said Helmut Krah, a voter in the NRW capital Duesseldorf who was window-shopping with his wife on the elegant Koenigsallee. "I'm voting for them not because they are good but because the others are so bad."


The vote is likely to bolster SPD fortunes nationwide and make Merkel, Germany's most popular politician, look politically vulnerable for the first time in a long while.


A decisive victory for the SPD would be seen by many as a double defeat for the chancellor: NRW would be rejecting her party and the fiscal discipline she has forced on heavily indebted euro zone countries such as Greece.


Elections in the last few weeks in Greece, France and Italy have spotlighted a growing backlash against austerity.

Austerity may never have been actually implemented in Europe (see here and here), but the people far and wide are demanding more debt, pardon growth.

NRW, home to one in six German voters, is a microcosm of Germany and changes in coalitions there have presaged change for national governments. In 2005, the CDU led a centre-right coalition there to power four months before Merkel was elected at the head of the same alliance in Berlin.


The latest poll, released on Friday, put the SPD on 38 percent and the Greens on 11 percent, well ahead of the CDU and their preferred Free Democrat (FDP) coalition allies.


The CDU is polling 33 percent, which would be its worst result in NRW, and the pro-business FDP looks set to get just 5 percent. In the last NRW election in 2010, the SPD was just behind the CDU.


The big question is whether or not the SPD will get enough for a majority coalition with the Greens.


"I am not sure the SPD will have such a big win because politics has become so splintered and getting a majority is difficult," said one SPD supporter, Jana, after voting in Duesseldorf's historic centre, which was bustling with people eating and drinking in the spring sunshine.


"I think it will be a disaster for Roettgen," said a 29-year-old architect, who did not want to give her name. "But it's not a threat to Merkel. She is so strong at federal level in her position as chancellor."


The upstart Pirate Party, whose platform is based on internet freedom and more direct participation in politics, was polling at 8 percent and looked set to enter its fourth regional parliament in a row.

At least the Pirates are happy. Merkel? Not so much

"With the FDP and SPD, a performance-oriented party and a party focused mostly on social justice would rule together - surely it would be ideal if these two fundamental views came together," Wolfgang Kubicki, leader of the FDP in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.


Were a similar coalition to come together at the national level in 2013, it could doom Merkel's hopes of a third term.

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RoadKill's picture

Who is SPD???

Are they good guys that want to stop sending money to PIIGS or the bad guys like Hollande that want to give Greece even MORE OPiuM so they can avoid austerity?

A Man without Qualities's picture

They are more pro Europe than the CDU, so more likely to support handing over more cash.  Bizarrely, the majority of German voters either don't know this, or don't care....

ThirdWorldDude's picture

The majority of any voting body doesn't have a clue about politics, otherwise they'd never go out and cast a vote.

caconhma's picture

<Austerity may never have been actually implemented in Europe but the people far and wide are demanding more debt, pardon growth.> More and more welfare and less and less productive work.


The only question left: where is a breaking point? In Europe, it will be EU disintegration. In America, it will be an welfare-economic collapse.


The Soviet economic/political model was not viable for a very long time but it was a welfare-totalitarian state that kept it together for many decades. However, as soon as a totalitarian state loosened its grip, the things started to fall apart very quickly (in a matter of 3-5 years).


In America, the trend is very clear: full speed to a totalitarian state. However, any road to a totalitarian state must pass an welfare-economic inflationary collapse. Isn’t it the Obama presidency all about? If it is a case, Romney has no chance of winning!





AldousHuxley's picture

america learned the lessons of austerity in the great depression, so they tend to be inflationary these days.

europe learned the lessons of hyperinflation during WWII, so they tend to be austerity focused.


different historial experiences. pendalum will swing back and forth.

boogerbently's picture

That's the "problem" with democracy. The people who need and benefit the most from govt. largesse think they can just VOTE in their benefits. They don't care where the money comes from, or even if there IS any.....they just don't want it to stop!

That's no way to run a business.

gatorengineer's picture

Really????  Tell me about the lessons of austerity during the great depression....  The great depression was a spending spree the likes of which was never seen until Odumbo....  Get a history book or a clue.

DosZap's picture

The great depression was a spending spree the likes of which was never seen until Odumbo....  Get a history book or a clue.

Yeah, by the POTUS(who along w/his predecessor started all this shit) then, but the same results happened to the 99%.

Jack Sheet's picture

And 40% of them didn't vote, thus representing the majority.

boogerbently's picture

40% is about how many DO vote, here!

Rynak's picture

Maybe, but europe and especially germany is different. 10 Years ago, it would be a scandal if 30% didn't vote.

Why is that so? Well, mainly because in terms of parties, europe and germany are way less "bipolar" than the US. Where in the US, there really are only two parties getting a say via elections at all.... in europe it is completely normal for those parties actually getting to vote on policies, coming from 5 or more parties. This also is why "coalitions" are much more frequent in europe, than in the US.

Why that matters for the amount of people who vote? Well, in the US, you either are mainstream, or don't vote. In europe, if you're not mainstream, you can still vote for an alternative (which is to mean "2nd level mainstream") ideology.... thus, there is a second net for people not being totally mainstream, yet still believers in the political system.

A high amount of people not voting, in europe does not just mean people being dissatisfied with the major parties.... it represents people either not caring, or no longer believing... in the political system as a whole. And for this, 40% is a fuckton lot!

On top of this, 40% doesn't even capture the amount of "potential votes not being cast for any of the parties that get into politics": In germany, there is an "entry-barrier" for small parties... if you do not get a certain percentage of votes at minimum, all the votes you got are void. People who cast those vote are neither counted as "non-voters", nor are they counted among the cast votes. Which means that the amount of people not having voted for any of those parties who made it... is actually a few percent higher than 40%.

Freddie's picture

Effing stupidity.  They voted for people more EU than the CDU.  The pirates are apple owners who want a living wage while they enjoy slave labour Foxconn gadget from Apple.  The only good thing they advocated is less govt spying on the citizenry.

Germany is in much better shape than the rest of the world and they vote like libs who took down and destroyed California.

Rynak's picture

Actually, the pirates are more probably C64 owners modded for inet-access :)

But yeah, please carry on with your usual psyops business.

Bring the Gold's picture

Ryank, pwnage as usual. Nicely put. :)


tom a taxpayer's picture

Why does the Reuters article say the low vote for Merkel's CDU is a criticisms of Merkel's austerity drive? Hey Reuters, the Germans, not the Greeks, were voting in this election. Could the low vote for Merkel's CDU be instead more a repudiation of her repeated efforts to put German taxpayers in deeper and deeper holes in efforts to save Greece and other countries?


bank guy in Brussels's picture

Could be curious biographical facts about Merkel that seem to keep emerging ...

Especially funny story about her first husband Ulrich Merkel, supporting Angela while she was at university and then Angela leaves him, stealing the refrigerator in their apartment - that was a super valuable item in the old East Germany!

Plus the depth of Merkel's involvement as a loyal Communist till the Berlin Wall fell, then Merkel quickly spun 180 degrees, became pro-American ... her current husband, Joachim Sauer, apparently worked for the US Pentagon military-industrial complex in San Diego USA.

Paladin en passant's picture

BGIB, The Slog blog at your link is worth checking out on a daily basis. Highly recommended to Zero Hedge readers.

Treason Season's picture

Ward of the John is a Holohoaxer.

Freddie's picture

CDU should get rid of her.  Typical elite - who ever is in power - they suck up to.  She was a communist.  Same thing with Hollande in France.  Socialist owns 3 houses in the French Riviera.  The only thing worse is what is elected in the USA.  Ron and Rand Paul are good but the rest are mainly sh*t.

Jack Sheet's picture

As usual we see the bullshit claims of the anglo saxon blogosphere and press that the PIIGS bailouts were an issue in this local state election. Nothing could be further from the truth. We heard the same spurious claims when the greens and spd won the Baden Wuerttemberg election last year.

gatorengineer's picture

Repeat afte me... Merkel is NOT conservative, she is a grown up EAST German........

AldousHuxley's picture

there are no bad or good guys in politics.

political swings simply represent citizen's mood, not a driver of anything important because the advisors are the same regardless of winning executive party.


What happens in society:

  1. Revolution led by intellectuals winning the hearts and minds of workers to overthrow the status quo
  2. brutal power grab set up to repress past opponents
  3. revolutionary leadership  implements some reforms but comes to realize that governance (trying to make everyone happy at the same time with limited resources) is difficult
  4. leadership slowly replaced by professional governing political class
  5. 2nd generation leadership meets middle way between old and new to optimize national progress
  6. future generation leadership becomes lazy and corrupt
  7. citizens suffer under bad leadership
  8. revolution
  9. repeat #1-7



Marginal Call's picture

I'm tempted to believe the pirate party might be "good guys".

Rynak's picture

You are..... the only problem with the pirates, is that they are a "single issue"-party (well, okay, "set of issues"-party).... similiar to the greens, just that in case of the pirates, their area of interests covers privacy, civil rights, direct democracy and of course copyright and patents.

Matt's picture

But doesn't everything else originate from these issues? 

The role of government, the structure of government, privacy and civil rights and property rights. What issues are there that are not fundamentally derived from these issues?

FinalCollapse's picture

The Pirates represent emerging trend for everything smaller and less centralized. The new generation wants back to roots and rejects this cleptocracy. 

Mountainview's picture

They live in cyberworld( ie. no worry about the daily food) chance in Greece for such a party these days...

Rynak's picture

You are of course completely right in your observation.

My only hesistation regarding the pirates, is that i (and friends of me whom in principle are symphatetic to them) do not see them "deriving" from those principles much.

Thisi is especially visible, when talking with their supporters on their own message boards. Most of them simply care about the core issues from whom they were born, and are fine with them becoming another "grass-roots lobby" (more on the caveats of this later from me).

And the recent attempt of them, to portray themselves as "progressive-social-democratic" party? I'm sorry, but this merely puts an "ideological stamp" on them, that did fit them from the beginning on anyways. Or in other words: It adds nothing more than marketing - or at worst, an adaption of ******** vanilla bogstandard identity. If i were to choose between their "core interests" and that new stupid pseudo-ideological stamp, i'd rather take the original intentions, even though i miss "more" from those.

In principle, the pirates IMO are catched in a "midlife identity crisis" of a party, that just got enough popular approval go to beyond their origins... yet all established "full-spectrum" ideologies, being bullshit.... and picking something entirely different (which is to say, actually original), would be risky for their achievements so far.

So, what i see here, is a party who has its hand at the right spot at it's heart and mind originally - yet regarding it's future, is faced with either going eccentric, staying "single-topic", or going mainstream bullcrap.

Yes, there are "unconventional" options available to them. After all, we are at a historic high of people refusing to vote, are at the point of the entire euro area collapsing, are at a point where the financial elite is even marginally visible to the public, are at a historic point of the public being dissatisfied with the major dichotomy......

And yet: Are they willing to in this historic moment take the risk of going "popular real-alternative-vision"? Or will they stay a party seeing broken property laws, and trying to appeal to the masses, by transitioning to one of the usual two fake polarities?

For now, i and my friends decided: Do not vote, and let them earn our trust, beyond "going critical mass".

ThirdWorldDude's picture

They are, only because they are marginal.

ThirdWorldDude's picture

I could argue you about the good & bad guys, but I won't now (think of SYRIZA in context of your words)...


The cycles of society are very well known in philosophy and that is the main reason why both J-J Rousseau and Jefferson propagate *refreshing the tree of liberty with blood". While Jefferson wasn't accurate about the timing (he was actually inspired by JJ), Rousseau has elaborated that it has to be done by every second generation, because the human species is forgetfull and has a great tendency for degeneration.


The cyclical concept is best explained by Orwell in his "Animal Farm" (a must read which is banned in most of the European schools).

cossack55's picture

Pssstttttt........hey, buddy. Thats because they live with their barnyard critters.

gatorengineer's picture

Intellectuals like in no particular order  Lech Walesa, Arab Spring, George Washington, those in the French Revolution perhaps........


Intellectuals never led anything except to a decline of a society.  See the break up of the Soviet Union or the Pending Break-up of Amerika (that is led by a Professor of Constitutional Law).... LOL

AldousHuxley's picture

hate of intellect and anything rational or based on reason leads to decline of society.

intellectuals prepare the minds of people for a revolution with new ideals.


America's constitution was drafted by intellectuals (formal schooling or not) who thought of  a better nation.


French Revolution was led by members of the political elite to replace feudalism with new Enlightenment principles of equality, citizenship and inalienable rights.


Ideals under marxism and Lenin's Bolsheviks were hijacked by Stalin who later ordered to kill Trotsky. Just like Tea Party's ideals were hijacked by Koch brothers to privatize state energy assets at rock bottom prices (see Wisconsin) to a point where Tea Party founder himself abandoned the movement.


 Anti-intellectuals like yourself are scary and of threat to an indebted society.

Go read animal farm, 1984, and see what they do to intellectuals before brutal power grab takes place. You have been warned.


StychoKiller's picture

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...

aleph0's picture

SPD = (so.called) Socialists


Update : Pirate Party 8.1%


Bolweevil's picture

Long sailcloth and rum.

StychoKiller's picture

Pity that the Pirates don't take their usual stand on Au/Ag!

Silver Bug's picture

The wave of Socialism continues to ride in. It is the current trend we are on sadly.

Rynak's picture

The SPD (think, german "democrats") is the party, which 10 years ago performed the chinafication of germany, right at euro introduction, to turn germany into a pusher nation on fire. The voters in the next election "absolutely blowtorched" them for it, and it barely avoided becoming a minor party.

CDU (think, german "republicans") then took over with merkel, and built on top what the SPD did.

Apparently, 10 years is enough to forget, that "this other major party over there, is just as shit as that major party over here".

Which is not to say that all voters are like that... before the introduction of the euro and the abuse by both major parties.... the minor parties actually were really minor..... by now, most of them have grown into "medium sized parties", and now you out of nowhere get another medium sized party (the pirates).

So even though there is significant dissent, the majority still subscribes to "obamney".  <---- WRONG, see P.S. below...

P.S.: As a post by someone else mentioned further down, 40% didn't vote (which is very high for german elections).... which actually means that the majority did NOT vote for for the major parties.

EscapeKey's picture

...aaand now the control reverts back to the left hand of the puppet master.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

I hate the left hand.  Its not as good at jacking off as the right hand is.  All these politicians do is jack off anyway.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Well, it's Pirates and Barbarians in the house now Folks, what's left? Or right?

Polickytics is, now more than ever, a game. None of these elected/selected politicians have an ounce of say in the business. Only pacifying value for their electorate. The power is firmly in the hands of the Militay and Money masters.

If people knew what vote really meant, would they? Vote that is? Because strangely, in a vote, the vow is yours.

Vow? Wow. How?

vote (n.) 
mid-15c., from L. votum "a vow, wish, promise, dedication," noun use of neuter of votus, pp. of vovere "to promise, dedicate" (see vow). The verb in the modern sense is attested from 1550s; earlier it meant "to vow" to do something (1530s)



palmereldritch's picture

The Pirates.  Also known by the short form abbreviation ARR

Jena's picture

Please let them have a slogan that starts with "Yo ho ho!"

A Man without Qualities's picture

I have a good friend who is a member of the CDU in NRW.  I have asked several times if the decline of the CDU-FDP support is linked to the Eurozone policies, esp the Fiskalpakt.  He's been canvassing for the last few weeks and the answer is a very clear NO.  It is almost nothing to do with austerity, or the Eurozone policies.

There have been a number of corruption scandals at local level involving the CDU, the FDP is losing support, and there is a bizarre tendency for rotation.  

Germans are voting on local issues and it needs to be remembered that the Eurozone economic policies are more heavily driven by the Bundesbank.



LawsofPhysics's picture

Makes sense, ALL economies are really local.  precisely why any "one-world" horeshit won't work.

Sandmann's picture

The collapse in CDU support has been continuous since is simply Merkel is no good. schroeder did much more than Merkel has done, she simply sits like mother hen on her warm patch and does .....nothing. Merkel is a disaster - without vision. The CDU is for old people - the party has rotted and youth goes to the Pirates. The CDU is for old people and has no relevance to younger people struggling to survive - the old have their Mercedes and houses and pensions and vote CDU

Jack Sheet's picture

Which cretin gave this guy a down vote?