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German election kingmakers - left jostle to unseat today's centre-right coalition

German election kingmakers - left jostle to unseat today's centre-right coalition
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU coalition may be on shakey ground after the defeat in regional polls of natural ally the Liberal FDP. They have lost badly in Bavarian regional elections. Now come the federal elections.

The liberals lost their place in Bavaria’s parliament in Sunday’s vote – for the sixth time in two and a half years.

For the federal polls, in a bid to ensure that it makes it into the national Bundestag parliament, the FDP could ask voters not only to vote for its list but also to vote for the candidate of the CDU, a double voting option which Germany’s electoral system provides for.

Merkel wants the vote both for the CDU list and candidate – as the liberal candidate is well aware.

Rainer Brüderle said: “It is entirely legitimate that Mrs Merkel ask for this. Helmut Kohl didn’t say ‘give your second vote to the FDP’ either. He just said he wanted a government of the centre.”

Another party that has traditionally played the role of political kingmaker is the Greens. But they have fallen below ten percent in voter intention surveys, notably for having proposed raising taxes.

Co-heading their list, Jürgen Trittin said he isn’t worried: “It’s normal, in all the Greens’ campaigns, for 20 years it’s been this way. Things start out high, then go down, but in the end they come back up again.”

If September 22 sees the Greens come out well and Merkel’s CDU win but without their allies the Liberals making the level to get them into the Bundestag, the question is whether the Greens would be ready to go into a coalition with the CDU.

Green candidate Katrin Göring-Eckardt told euronews: “I believe that a government must be stable and work in the same direction, because if you’re all pulling in different ways you achieve nothing. My imagination doesn’t stretch far enough to envision the CDU going so far [with concessions].”

Another party that could score relatively well is ‘Die Linke’ – that’s The Left, former Communist Party of eastern Germany – with 8-10 percent, which could give them a kingmaker role.

But their ideas are completely off on their own, and they prefer to concentrate on their programme, said Die Linke leader Katja Kipping: “We want a ten euro per hour minimum wage, and no more penalising people’s basic social benefits are penalised. These benefits must be raised, based on a monthly income of 500 euros. We want it guaranteed that minimum allowances won’t be penalised, and paid for by taxing millionaires.”

It is not impossible, then, that the combined votes of Social Democrat SPD supporters, Greens and Left might outdo the centre-right, and usher in – however improbably – a governing coalition of the left in Germany.