Two regional elections open Germany’s long election year

by time news

Time.news – This opens with two regional elections, the electoral year in Germany that will lead to the farewell, after 16 years, of Angela Merkel, the chancellor who announced that the current one will be her last term. In both cases the victory of the Greens and the Social Democrats is expected (Spd), with the conservative bloc (CDU-CSU) led by the Chancellor severely limited due to several cases of corruption.

The “case of the masks”, in which two members of the CDU and one of the CSU would have drawn personal profits from the sale of personal protective equipment, “is a disaster for Merkel’s party and its leaders try to contain the episode by talking about behavior individual “, explained the political scientist Hajo Funke, of the University of Berlin, to the Efe agency.

The three parliamentarians involved in the scandal have left the group, but according to some media, including the ‘Der Spiegel’, there are about 20 colleagues who find themselves in a similar situation.

THE TWO REGIONS TO THE VOTE

Nel Baden Wurttemberg, located in the South of the country with 7.6 million voters, the latest polls indicate a comfortable re-election for Winfried Kretschmann, 72, the only member of the Greens to head a regional government.

Kretschmann, in office since 2011, rules with the CDU as an ally, which in itself is an anomalous situation for conservatives. Until the arrival of the ecological leader, Angela Merkel’s party had long dominated the elections in an area characterized by industrial pressures and large companies.

A victory by Kretchmann could guarantee the wind in the sails of the environmentalists, now considered as the most eligible partners of the federal government, regardless of who will succeed Merkel.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, western region of the country with 3.1 million votersSocial Democrat Malu Dreyer, 60, has two points of advantage over the CDU candidate, according to German television Zdf. Other polls speak of a 4-point lead.

Dreyer leads a coalition of Greens and Liberals in a federal state where, at the regional level, the Social Democrats have a long tradition of victories.

It is interesting to observe how a possible SPD-Verdi coalition would reach 44% of the votes, against 45% obtained in the sum of all the other parties put together. The other possibility for the region would obviously be the continuation of the SPD-FPD and Verdi alliance, or a Grosse Koalition between SPD and CDU.

Today’s elections are the first of a series of six regional ballot calls to be held this year – including those in the ‘city-state’ of Berlin – in Germany.

To this must be added the national elections scheduled for 26 September. It is the first time since 2005 that Angela Merkel will not play the role of leader of the conservative bloc given the announcement of her withdrawal from the German political scene.

THE EXTREME RIGHT

The regional elections will also serve to measure the impact of Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD), Germany’s far-right party and the first nationwide opposition force since it entered parliament in 2017.

The party drags with it strong tensions between its most radical wing and the so-called more moderate part and the polls could tip the scales on one side or the other.

THE VOTE DURING THE PANDEMIC

The authorities have put in place extraordinary hygiene measures to prevent gatherings, infections and other consequences caused by the spread of the virus and the new variants. Severe measures will be taken in the polling stations and in the premises used for the final counting of the ballots.

Media representatives will also have to undergo rapid tests to access and closely follow each phase of election day. A sharp increase in postal voting is expected which could even comprise 50% of the total number of voters, compared to 30% of the last call to the national polls.

Rhineland Palatinate has an incidence well below the national average: 53 positive tests in seven days per 100 thousand inhabitants, compared to 76.1 in the whole of Germany. In Baden Wurttemberg, which for months was among the most affected “Laender”, the weekly incidence is 69 positive per 100 thousand inhabitants.

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