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State elections paint mixed picture of Germany

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State elections paint mixed picture of Germany


Two state elections in Germany this weekend produced one shock result and encouragement for the SPD, partner in Germany’s Grand coalition government. In Mecklenburg-Vorpommen the far-right NPD won seven point three percent of the vote, and so Udo Pastörs will become the third far-right local leader to take a delegation into a German state assembly.

The north-eastern state, formerly part of the communist East Germany, has economic problems, but in the Berlin elections the political landscape was very different. Here the SPD triumphed, increasing its share of the vote, as did the Greens. The far-right failed.

The SPD’s leader in Mecklenburg, Harald Ringstorff said that as democrats they needed to fight in a democratic way against “non-democrats”, and could only hope that in four years they would oust the far-right.

However Ringstorff will be worried his party lost 10 percentage points. No such worries for the SPD’s Klaus Wowereit, who saw his party’s share of the vote rise, along with the Greens in Berlin. They may become his new coalition partner, replacing the former communist PDS. Problems remain, however, as Berlin has 60 billion euros of debt and a jobless rate of 17

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