Yesterday, Saarland went to the polls. Saarland elects by a proportional list system, with the state split into three areas, any party gaining over 5% gets a share of the 51 seats.
As the opinion polls predicted the FDP Liberal party were wiped out, losing all five of their seats and going down from 9% of the vote to 1.2%. Their former partners in the coalition with the CDU, the Green Party were down 0.9% to 5% losing one of their three seats, and The Left were down 5.2% to 16.1% of the vote losing two of their seats.
The winners are the Christian Democrats- Angela Merkel’s party, who went up by 0.7% meaning they retain their 19 seats and their direct rivals the SPD (Social Democratic party) who didn’t do as well as the opinion polls predicted, but nevertheless went up by 6.1% to 30.6% giving them 17 seats. The big winners being the Pirate Party who went from nowhere to 7.4% gaining themselves 4 seats.
The Pirate Party in Saarland is a very young party, in terms of the time established, outlook and membership. Their leader is Jasmin Maurer who is 22 years old.
The CDUs leader in Saarland, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer now has to find coalition partners from their opponent groups.
Meanwhile the leader of “The Left” is blaming their losses on the pirates of stealing their votes, and the leader of the Free Democrats is putting their electoral collapse down to internal divisions.
(For a full list of all 11 parties competing see my post here).
Saarland, where I live, is just about the smallest state in Germany apart from the city states. In terms of population it’s actually smaller than Hamburg.
In January the ruling “Jamaica” coalition between Merkel’s CDU, the FDP, and the Green party in the state parliament fell apart, meaning we have elections on Sunday 25th March. So every time I go to town I get pestered by political people, and have to say in my best German that I’m a foreigner and can’t vote.
There are *ELEVEN* parties contesting the election.
- DIE LINKE (The Left)
- FDP Liberals
- BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN (Green Party)
- The Family Party
- NPD (I think the German BNP)
- FREIE WÄHLER (Free Voters)
- Direct Democracy Initiative
- Die PARTEI
- The Pirate Party
What I’m noticing is that they all have an allocation of A0 Posters on lampposts and on those posters only the FDP is going for negative campaigning. Well the Greens have a cartoon of a nuclear power station with the slogan “Tick tock tick tock” but it’s not a direct swipe at their opponents, it’s all about what they would do. The negative campaigning doesn’t seem to be doing the FDP any good, they’re on 1% of the vote, while the greens are only slightly down on 5%.
The other noticeable thing (to a foreigner) is The Pirate Party which here appears to be a sort of home for the more alternative people who in the UK would be members of the Lib Dems, is gaining votes. They’re actually polling higher than the Greens. And their slogans are nothing to do with IP, but more to do with votes at 16, family having multiple shapes (picture of a toddler with 2 dads), and the environment. And their best: “Don’t trust posters, inform yourself.”