NRW election: more bad news for CDU, more Pirates

Polls have closed in North Rhine-Westphalia, the largest state in Germany.

As expected, it looks like another bad outcome for federal Chancellor (PM) Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Initial projections put the Social Democrats (SPD) on 38.8% of the vote, compared to the CDU’s 25.8%. That is a record low for the latter party, whose leader in the state immediately resigned.

It is still not clear if the vote of the Green Party will be enough to give a bare majority to coalition of the SPD and Greens. It was the minority government of these two parties that resigned after losing a budget vote, triggering this election.

The Pirate Party continues its run of success, with 6%. The Left, which was in the previous parliament, collapsed to 2.6% and thus will not have seats in the new parliament.

9 thoughts on “NRW election: more bad news for CDU, more Pirates

  1. Looks like the SPD/Grüne coalition will make it. Interesting that the FDP is gaining seats now, what changed since the recent string of elections where they were hemorrhaging support?

  2. Vasi: It seems the FDP are back, in a way. Somehow, they recovered in the polls, since mid-April showing about 6-7% for state elections and hovering around the 5%-threshold for federal elections.

  3. Out of curiosity, does anyone know why the Allies chose in 1949 to create such a mega-state by merging three existing provinces? I can understand that a federation might get a California or an Uttar Pradesh by population growth over time… but surely if one is consciously re-arranging the regional boundaries, one would try to bring the regions closer to the average population, rather than more lopsided?

  4. Tom: Interesting question. It seems both the Northern part of the Prussian ‘Rhineland’ and the whole Westphalia province were in the British zone. These two were combined with Lippe to make the state. If it were divided into North-Rhine and Westphalia(-Lippe), the two would make the 3rd and 4th most populous states with roughly 9 and 8 million people, respectively.

  5. Given the Cold War context I wonder if there was some geo-strategic imperative on the Allies’ part – either to create an industrial powerhouse, or to bolster the CDU’s vote, or something similar.

    Not so far-fetched given than Hans Morgenthau (like some other influential voices in the Truman administration) was advocating at the time that Germany’s industrial capacity be removed so it that would become a 16th-century agricultural food-basket again…

    But yes, as a general rule one would think that any wholesale conscious re-drawing of provincial boundaries should, all else being equal, aim to reduce rather than increase disparities among population. (Maybe I’m biased since Qld and Vict were hived off from NSW for precisely this reason, to reduce the average size – area and population – of each Colony).

  6. I was thinking about an interesting electoral reform.

    – District seats: approval voting
    – List seats: cumulative voting

    Let voters vote for as many parties and candidates as they want!

  7. I went first to the Wikipedia article about Nord Rhin -Westphaila, then started clicking through the various sites sited on the page, which mostly linked to official sites of the state government that gave some of the history of the region.

    It seems from the government sites that the “industrial powerhouse” explanation for the merger is probably correct. There are references to the desirability of putting the entire Ruhr basin in one state.

  8. Odd group, the NRW Pirates: the top 20 on this list have an average age of 42. Not the youth movement I expected. Three women, 17 men! They are all over the map: a civil liberties lawyer; a police officer whose priority is safety laws; a woman who likes organizing a demonstration against the austerity package, or to distribute royalty-free children’s song books; and others who may have no life outside the internet. Unherdable cats?

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