In German political terms this year of 2011 was always going to be about not any grand national-level election to (possibly) change the faces at the very top, but rather a very numerous series of elections at lower levels of that country’s federal system, none of them of decisive importance in itself but collectively fully capable of pointing to the likely result of the next truly national-level election, scheduled for 2012.
The latest of these occurred last Sunday (among other places) in Baden-Württemberg, the “other” southern federal German state (i.e. the one that’s not Bavaria), and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party continued its long record of performing poorly in such local elections. To give you a pretty precise idea of what exercises voters in that particular prosperous corner of Germany, it’s generally agreed that the election revolved around just two issues: Fukushima (i.e. “nuclear power is dangerous”) and Stuttgart 21. The Green Party, especially, was on the “correct” side of both questions; so the Green Party won big, more than doubling its share of the vote and climbing to a position where it can lead a coalition state government together with its traditional political ally, the Social Democrat Party. (more…)