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4551  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: 15 years ago... on: October 02, 2005, 01:12:12 pm
The really exciting moment was when the communists were forced to open the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.  Pressure had been building on them all summer, as a large number of East Germans were escaping to the west through Hungary, which had like Poland effetively overthrown its communist government.  On November 9, the East German government finally announced that it was lifting border restrictions, and allowing travel to the west.

Actually, the leaders of East Germany were as much surprised as the rest of the world. The order to open the borders, at least in the form it was given, has been the result of misunderstandings and failed communication within the East German government. But at the time they noticed their mistake it was way too late to do something about. The lifting of the border restrictions as it was originally intended would have been more moderate.

Of course, the Berlin Wall would have come down anyway... only several weeks later (and probably less surprising for the world).
4552  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Would a Sunni-Shia civil war in Iraq really be all that bad? on: September 30, 2005, 04:59:27 am
Yes, it would indeed.


@Melken_Sie_und_Getreide: Why should I milk someone? Do you own a cow? Wink

I honestly don't know any german, I ran Milk and Cereal through freetranslator.com and got that name.  I feel pretty stupid now.

Additional proof how stupid online translators are. Obviously it thought that you meant the verb "milk" and not the noun "milk". Cheesy

This translator also made it more complicated than necessary. Simply try it with "Milch_und_Cerealien". Wink
4553  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Putin Will Not Seek Reelection on: September 30, 2005, 04:48:03 am
I don't think he'd become a PM in that administration, if such a sham administration were to happen - PM is a technical job, dealing, mainly, with economic issues, and serving, largely, at the pleasure of the President. It won't do Puting any good to be a "subordinate".  More likely, he'd try the Party role.

Couldn't he be both? Wink
4554  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: German federal election (September 18, 2005) on: September 29, 2005, 08:59:05 am
I'm surprised, he always struck me as rather arrogant and pompous.

Perhaps it's just sympathy for being ousted by Merkel. Wink



Is there ever a babelfish translation that is readable? Wink  I personally can read German so it's not a problem for me, but of course other members won't be able to. What's the URL for the article?

Mhm, I think Lewis meant this one here: http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,377242,00.html
4555  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: German federal election (September 18, 2005) on: September 29, 2005, 08:23:04 am
Merz as Chancellor? Half of Germany would probably emigrate if that happens. Wink

Despite his extremely conservative views on economic issues, Merz is more popular among the electorate than you might think. He has a huge personality bonus.



I can't see Koch either. How about Wulff, or would the SPD be risking the same problems in Lower Saxony?

No, Koch is a scumbag, but Wulff isn't. Wulff's only problem would be his lack of experience... he became PM of Lower Saxony just two and a half years ago, I think.



Stoiber has been suspiciously supportive of a Grand Coalition ever since election night, which tells me that he's been brokering a backroom deal ever since, maybe even beforehand. I wouldn't put it past him, given that he's a real snake.

Who knows... perhaps it has simply something to do with the fact that a Jamacia coalition with the Greens would be a real horror for the CSU.
4556  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: German federal election (September 18, 2005) on: September 29, 2005, 08:08:34 am
Been checking some of the German news websites, and rumour has it that Schroeder is ready to relinquish the Chancellorship should the CDU decide to forebear Merkel as Chancellor. This would leave a plethora of potential candidates, including Edmund Stoiber, Christian Wulff, Roland Koch... maybe even Wolfgang Schaeuble. No matter who's Chancellor (and my gut tells me Schaeuble), Muentefehring would be Vice Chancellor in such a scenario.

Yeah, that's one of the many rumours I mentioned. Wink

But I would say that Merkel's position looks stronger now than just a week ago (which is more the result of a increasingly weaker Schröder, than a strong Merkel)... but who knows?

At the moment, only one thing seems relatively certain... Bavarian PM and 2002 election loser Edmund Stoiber has repeatedly stated that he will be a member of the new cabinet in the case of a Grand coalition.
4557  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Would a Sunni-Shia civil war in Iraq really be all that bad? on: September 29, 2005, 07:09:05 am
Yes, it would indeed.


@Melken_Sie_und_Getreide: Why should I milk someone? Do you own a cow? Wink
4558  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: German federal election (September 18, 2005) on: September 29, 2005, 07:02:07 am
Sigh, nothing new from Germany yet, aside from countless rumours which seem to multiply at an exponential rate here. But a Grand coalition under Angela Merkel still seems to be the most likely outcome, although it will probably take a few more weeks (months? Cheesy), before CDU/CSU and SPD come to an agreement.


And there's the Dresden I special election this sunday, which will determine whether the CDU wins/keeps/loses an additional seat. Sound rather exciting, I know. Wink  Here's a poll about the Dresden race, released a few days ago...

First vote
Andreas Lämmel (CDU): 32%
Marlies Volkmer (SPD): 29%
Katja Kipping (Left.PDS): 18%
Peggy Bellmann (FDP): 9%
Stephan Kühn (Greens): 8%
Franz Schönhuber (NPD): 3%

Second vote
CDU: 29%
SPD: 28%
Left.PDS: 17%
FDP: 12%
Greens: 10%
Other parties: 4%

Of course, since Sept. 18 we all know how accurate polls are. Wink
4559  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Putin Will Not Seek Reelection on: September 29, 2005, 05:50:20 am
This probably means that Vladimir Putin will be appointed Prime Minister by whoever he will allow to win the next presidential election in 2008.
4560  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: German federal election (September 18, 2005) on: September 23, 2005, 10:17:03 am
Well, the preliminary talks between the parties are over for this week.

The leaders of the CDU/CSU and and the Greens seemed rather, uh, skeptical after their meeting today. And further talks between the two parties are not scheduled at the moment. Now, the "Jamaica coalition" looks at best as a backup plan of the CDU for the case that the negotiations about a grand coalition will fail.

CDU/CSU and SPD have agreed to resume their talks next wednesday. The main obstacle still seems to be question who's going to be Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder or Angela Merkel, and not so much the issues.
4561  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: abortion roll call on: September 22, 2005, 05:04:42 am
do you support first and second trimester abortions being outlawed?

Um, I'm leaning towards "no"... not that I care much about it (compared to the other two roll calls).
4562  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: death penalty roll call on: September 22, 2005, 05:02:09 am
im opposed to the death penalty in all cases.

Agree.
4563  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: gay marriage roll call on: September 22, 2005, 04:59:51 am
do you support legal gay marriage (not the half-ass 'civil unions')

Yes.
4564  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: German federal election (September 18, 2005) on: September 22, 2005, 04:40:01 am
Or is it just a coincidence that the party that actually came forward with strong reform proposals(FDP) got one of their best results in the late years?

The success of the FDP can be mostly explained by the fact that a lot of CDU supporters voted for the FDP to ensure that CDU/FDP will have a majority (didn't work that much).

Compared to the CDU with their whole Kirchhof tax concept chaos, the FDP probably also looked much more organized. In addition, their new no-nonsense style (compared to their totally stupid and utterly failed "fun campaign" of 2002) could have get them some voters.
4565  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: German federal election (September 18, 2005) on: September 22, 2005, 04:08:24 am
Yesterday, the first talks between SPD and Greens were held. These were mostly of symbolic nature, because both parties would need the FDP to govern and the FDP refused to even talk to the SPD. Today, the CDU/CSU will come together with the FDP and then with the SPD. For tomorrow, a meeting between the leaderships of CDU/CSU and the Greens is scheduled.

In related news, there were rumours that the SPD is planning to change the rules of the Bundestag, so that two parties (read: CDU and CSU) wouldn't be allowed anymore to form a caucus. By separating CDU and CSU, the SPD would become the largest party in the house and had the right to keep the office of Chancellor in the case of the grand coalition. Those plans were now denied by SPD chairman Franz Müntefering. I'd say there were in fact discussed within the party, but it is unclear whether it was for real or just a bluff to put some pressure on the CSD/CSU. To change those rules, the SPD would have needed the votes of the Left Party anyway, and the Left has already said that they wouldn't take part in this sort of thing... which would have been kind of ironic when the CDU/CSU is actually saved by the Left.PDS. Cheesy
4566  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: German federal election (September 18, 2005) on: September 22, 2005, 03:14:43 am
1.) How soon can new elections be held?

Theoretically speaking... the new Bundestag has to constitute itself within 30 days. If the Bundestag fails to elect a Chancellor on the first ballot, the second (and third) ballot has to be held within fourteen days. Is a Chancellor elected on the third ballot with relative majority the president may appoint him/her or call for early elections within the following seven days. Early elections are to be held within 60 days of the dissolution of the Bundestag. So I'd, the next election could be held in the next three or four months... perhaps in January.

But I still think (hope) that it doesn't come so far. Perhaps it's time for the two major parties to dispose their respective chancellor candidates now... at least on the side of the SPD is this badly needed in order to get a government together.



2.) What changes will occur in such an election?

At this moment, that's totally unpredictable.. at least for me. A CDU/FDP majority, a SPD/Green majority, or the same result all over again (perhaps with better numbers for the Left.PDS, because people will start to be really disaffected by mainstream politics), who knows?
4567  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Frankfurt results on: September 22, 2005, 02:53:38 am
Yeah, with that few voters results become slightly random-ish.

The FDP finished second with 14.1% in Diemitz, which has about 1500 voters. Overall, the FDP seems to have gotten its best results in the suburbs (like Diemitz).



Where`s the uni? Paulusviertel?

Our university itself is spread all over the city, but your on the right lead. Wink The Greens did best in the precincts where the most students live.

Paulusviertel: 17.8%
Giebichenstein: 17.4%
Nördliche Innenstadt: 14.4%
Altstadt: 14.1%
Saaleaue: 11.5%
Kröllwitz: 11.4%
4568  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Frankfurt results on: September 21, 2005, 10:46:54 am
FDP's strongest result in "industrial estate north" though - what's wrong here? What sort of area is that?

Haha, good question. I'm not so often up there. That's fairly in the north and a part of Trotha, which is so far out that it's practically a town of its own. I know that Industriegebiet Nord is where our port (to the Saale river) is located. And according to my numbers they have only 274 voters there, so it might be really an industrial estate. But there were several precincts of Halle were the FDP got more than 10% of the vote. Wink


And of course, map please.

This wish is harder to fulfill than I thought... here, try this one and click on "Stadtviertel":

http://halgis.halle.de/
4569  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Frankfurt results on: September 21, 2005, 07:36:37 am
Fine, Halle by precincts... Cheesy

Best SPD result: Heide-Süd (37.2%)
Worst SPD result: Tornau (24.5%)

Best Left.PDS result: Silberhöhe (35.3%)
Worst Left.PDS result: Kröllwitz (17.8%)

Best CDU result: Dieselstraße (31.1%)
Worst CDU result: Silberhöhe (16.8%)

Best FDP result: Industriegebiet Nord (15.4%)
Worst FDP result: Südstadt (6.7%)

Best Green result: Paulusviertel (17.8%)
Worst Green result: Tornau & Kanena/Bruckdorf (2.7% each)

Best NPD result: Tornau (3.4%)
Worst NPD result: Saaleaue (0.0%, NPD didn't receive a single vote there)
4570  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: German federal election (September 18, 2005) on: September 21, 2005, 07:11:24 am
I had a lookaround for the NPD. They topped 5% in 8 constituencies, all in Saxony:
Sächsische Schweiz - Weißeritz 7.1%
Kamenz - Hoyerswerda - Großenhain 6.5%
Bautzen - Weißwasser 6.3%
Annaberg - Aue-Schwarzenberg 6.3%
Freiberg - Mittleres Erzgebirge 6.1%
Görlitz - Löbau-Zittau - Niesky 6.0%
Döbeln - Mittweida - Meißen II 5.8%
Delitzsch - Torgau-Oschatz - Riesa 5.2%

Sounds like the usual suspects.



They did worst in the major cities - Leipzig II 2.2%, Potsdam etc 1.8%, Rostock 2.0%, Magdeburg and Halle 1.7% each.

YEEESSSSS! Cheesy
4571  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Schroeder vs. Merkel on: September 21, 2005, 07:05:39 am
Schröder of course calls himself a "social democrat" in Germany, that's the name of his party. Why should he claim that he isn't a member of his own party? Cheesy

In an U.S. election he would probably call himself a "Democrat", which is exactly what he would be. I don't know how Merkel could have an advantage because of that fact. Wink

to americans, a social-democrat is a socialist. if he is a social democrat, merkel wins with 60% of the electorate. If he's allowed to move away from that lable, he wins with 60% of the electorate.

To Americans a "liberal" is a leftist too, but this doesn't make the FDP a socialist party. Wink
4572  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Schroeder vs. Merkel on: September 21, 2005, 04:23:27 am
Schröder of course calls himself a "social democrat" in Germany, that's the name of his party. Why should he claim that he isn't a member of his own party? Cheesy

In an U.S. election he would probably call himself a "Democrat", which is exactly what he would be. I don't know how Merkel could have an advantage because of that fact. Wink
4573  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: German federal election (September 18, 2005) on: September 20, 2005, 11:17:23 am
BTW, if John Kerry was President now, would CDU/CSU + FDP have won a clear majority?

Counterquestion: What has John Kerry to do with the flat tax? Wink


America/Bush/Iraq didn't play nearly as much a role as it did in 2002 (or as it perhaps was perceived abroad), despite some few remarks by Schröder. This election was very much decided by the issue of "social justice"... and the question whether Merkel is more incompetent than Schröder or not (considering the election result the latter question was answered by a "no difference"). Cheesy

With John Kerry in the White House the result wouldn't have been much different, because this time we had other issues than scary countries with funny names in the Middle East.
4574  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Frankfurt results on: September 20, 2005, 10:51:54 am
Here's the full result of my constituency (73 - Halle)


First vote

Christel Riemann-Hanewinckel (SPD): 36.0%
Petra Sitte (Left.PDS): 27.4%
Christoph Bergner (CDU): 24.8%
Cornelia Pieper (FDP): 4.9%
Dietmar Weihrich (Greens): 3.5%
Andrea Machleid (NPD): 1.7%
Helmut Gobsch (Independent):  0.9%
Frank Oettler (MLPD): 0.8%


Second vote

SPD: 33.6%
Left.PDS: 26.8%
CDU: 20.4%
FDP: 9.0%
Greens: 7.2%
NPD: 1.7%
Other parties: 1.4%


Turnout: 71.2%
4575  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: German federal election (September 18, 2005) on: September 20, 2005, 07:12:12 am
So, here's my take on what scenarios are possible.

1) The CDU accepts Gerhard Schröder as Chancellor in a grand coalition.

2) The SPD accepts Angela Merkel as Chancellor in a grand coalition.

3) Both Merkel and Schröder step aside and CDU/CSU and SPD compromise on the Chancellor question... one of the CDU minister-presidents (state PM's) would most likely end up being Chancellor.

4) CDU/CSU and SPD agree on the "Israeli option": Schröder and Merkel will each be Chancellor for the half of a term.

5) CDU/FDP and Greens overcome their programmatic and ideological differences and agree on a coalition.

6) The FDP backs down from its earlier statements and agrees on a coalition with SPD and Greens.

7) Schröder is somehow elected Chancellor and forms a SPD/Green minority government, perhaps supported by the Left Party.

8 ) Merkel is somehow elected Chancellor (perhaps in the thrid ballot with relative majority) and forms a CDU/FDP minority government.

9) Either Schröder or Merkel are elected Chancellor in the third ballot with relative majority, but President Köhler refuses to appoint him/her and calls for early elections again.


I think options 2) and 3) are most likely at the moment. If neither of those two come true, I would place my bets on 6), 7), 8 ), or 9).
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