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Author Topic: Merkel as CDU/CSU's Chancellor-candidate in 2002  (Read 498 times)
Peter the Lefty
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« on: June 19, 2012, 04:27:47 pm »
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What if Merkel had managed to become CDU/CSU's nominee for chancellor in 2002 instead of Edmund Stoiber?  Who would have won, would she still be Chancellor today, and where would the various parties be ideologically, and leadership-wise?
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Peter the Lefty
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2012, 01:25:19 am »
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A theory I came up with (which has a lot of wishful thinking):  Merkel wins the election, but with an incredibly narrow majority for the CDU/CSU-FDP coalition.  Schroder insists on staying on as SPD-Chairman, but soon, the Merkel government begins to enact neoliberal reforms and radical welfare cuts similar to Agenda 2010 in OTL, and Schroder's support for them causes most within the SPD to rebel, and without the stigma of stabbing a sitting Chancellor (and the dilemma of his replacement being less urgent), a policy resolution passes at the 2003 SPD conference stating that the SPD must oppose Merkel's reforms by 70%.  Schroder's own leadership gets 40% during the leadership review.  A leadership election is then held, and at first Schroder is the only one who appears to be running.  Oskar Lafontaine then re-enters politics and throws his hat into the ring.  Many SPD members are somewhat dismayed by the choice between the seemingly neoliberal former Chancellor who has already lost the most recent election and is now embracing the policies of the person who beat him, and a former finance minister (and once a failed Chancellor-candidate himself) who quit due to "lack of cooperation," and who has written editorials against the SPD-Green government.  Heidemarie Weiczorek-Zeul then announces her candidacy to fill the gap.  While also on the SPD left, she is more likable for many than the volatile Lafontaine.  She beats out Schroder and Lafontaine as a semi-compromise candidate.  While Weiczorek-Zeul (or HWZ as she becomes known) is initially popular, her very left-wing stances manage to alienate many centrist voters, giving Merkel her greatest gift which she would otherwise not have: re-electability.  A Margaret Thatcher/Michael Foot analogy would be appropriate.  Furthermore, many figures on the SPD right become angry at her "betrayal of Schroder" and the New Center, and finally, a bold decision is taken by Peer Steinbruck Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Olaf Scholz, Hans Eichel, Wolfgang Clement, Bodo Hombach, Ulla Schmidt, and others, in 2004.  They form a new party known as the "Third Way.". With both Clement and his obvious successor, Steinbruck, no longer in the NRW SPD, the party holds a panic vote for its new leader, and Hannelore Kraft wins the job unopposed.  She then becomes the state premier of NRW.  In spite of Kurt Beck and Franz Munterfering being seriously considered as potential alternatives as Chancellor candidate to HWZ, she prevails and leads the SPD in the 2006 election.  While she snatches a significant vote block from the PDS, she looses much of the centrist vote to the Third Way. CDU/CSU-FDP no longer have a majority due to an FDP collapse, but the CDU/CSU form a coalition with the Third Way, and Merkel remains in power.  HWZ resigns as SPD chair.  Especially after the unpopularity of Merkel's decision to enter the Iraq war, the 2006 election was almost unlooseable for the SPD.  After easily winning re-election as Berlin's mayor that year, Klaus Wowereit is touted as the obvious choice to succeed her.  He declines for the sake of avoiding the political consequenses of being seen as caring more about the federal party than Berlin, which he'd just been re-elected to serve.  Kurt Beck is seen as too close to the Third Way (being among the few centrists who chose to stay for career reasons).  Franz Munterfering is elected SPD chair as the only candidate running.  Edelgard Bulmahn is elected as SPD leader in the Bundestag.  Munterfering manages to bring back some of the centrist voters who stopped supporting the Third Way, but the question persists as to whether they will stick with the SPD in 2010.  With her economic agenda out of the way, Merkel then decides to extend the lifetimes of the nuclear reactors, causing a massive surge in the Green party's support.  The leadership question drags down the SPD's poll numbers.  However, after the economic collapse of 2009, the government becomes unpopular for the decisions that Finance minister Steinbruck takes, such as further social spending cuts and raising the retirement age to 67.  The SPD jumps ahead of the CDU/CSU in the polls, but by a much smaller margin than it should.  With Klaus Wowereit bogged down by relative unpopularity in Berlin, as well as re-election coming up in November 2010, Munterfering too centrist, and Bulmahn seemingly uninterested, all attention turns to Kraft.  Having been won the 2005 NRW election after abruptly taking over, her poll numbers are still strong, but her main problem is that she is up for re-election again in 2010.  She's still seen as the SPD's best electoral card.  In 2009, Franz Munterfering resigns as SPD chair after Andrea Nahles is elected General Secretary against his wishes, opening up questions of whether Kraft will run.  She decides not to.  Sigmar Gabriel then beats out Kurt Beck in the election for his successor.  He is also touted as a potential candidate, though his poll numbers compare unfavorably with Merkel's.  In late 2009, Kraft announces she's interested in being Chancellor, and that if she is the SPD's candidate, she'll step down as NRW premier and state SPD leader.  She is chosen as SPD candidate in early 2010, and after being replaced in NRW by Ralf Jäger, she leads the SPD in the election and wins a majority for Red-Green in 2010.  So, we'd have a much more left-wing SPD, a Third Way party, and the PDS would still be called the PDS.  People like Oskar Lafontaine and Klaus Ernst would still be SPD members.  
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Peter the Lefty
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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 09:02:17 am »
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Anyone else wanna give it a go? 
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