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Election 2005: What Readers Think

Germany has voted, but rather than giving one candidate a clear mandate to lead the country, the parties and politicians are left in a muddle. DW-WORLD readers have their say on the elections.

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Which of these two will lead Germany is still unclear

The following comments reflect the views of our readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

I remember all the jokes about America after the Bush-Gore campaign when both got just under 50 percent of the projections and it took weeks for a decision to be reached. Now with both of the main parties in Germany having about a third of the vote and with the big winners on the far left and far right, shouldn't you be making similar cartoons about how Germany is sailing rudderless? Or maybe with too many rudders? -- Richard Bradley

We had national elections in Norway last weekend, throwing out a center-right government which failed to appeal to a stable majority of voters, probably because it had been steadfastly pushing through unpopular liberal market solutions to problems this country doesn't even really have. So I wrote: The status quo was toppled. I wish I had known the outcome of the German federal election before I wrote last weekend's column. If so, I would have made my point even stronger: The pendulum is swinging, and after years (since Thatcher at least) of drifting towards market solutions to everything, voters are finally getting off the hook. I don't know what government is going to be pieced together in Germany, but I hope you have political leaders sensing that the times, they are changing again. There are no long-term solutions making the poor poorer and the breadwinners fewer. -- Ola Lars Andresen, Norway

No, Frau Merkel should not be the next German Chancellor. She talks great but she has no experience in governing the Federal Republic of Germany. Herr Schröder has done a great job in coming back from behind in this stunning election outcome. With Chancellor Schröder, Germany is on the right track with its economic reforms and building up Germany's reputation as peacemaker and reliable partner in both the EU and on the international political stage. -- Do Viet

If this means that Germany will be more likely to follow Bush and the U.S., then I am disappointed in my German friends. I'm a former Marine and have over 31 years of active and reserve military service. I consider Bush the worst president in American history. Bush and those surrounding him are neo-conservative theocrats lacking the kind of wisdom we saw in presidents Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Truman, Johnson, General George C. Marshall, and (from the German side) Konrad Adenauer and Willy Brandt. It remains to be seen if Angela Merkel can rise to the challenge and opportunity. The world needs independent and courageous German thought, not a lap dog for George Bush. I have more faith in the judgment of the German people than in the political manipulations of the current administration of my country. -- Gene Pollard, USA

An "Ampelkoalition" or "traffic light" coalition would serve Germany best, though it appears unlikely. Pushed by the FDP, reforms would proceed, but at the steady and moderate pace established by the SPD. German government would benefit from continuity and a reform process capable of sustaining public support. -- Mitchell P. Smith


Surely there is an alternative to the grand, traffic light or Jamaica coalitions, and that is a coalition of the Left: SPD, Green Party and Left Party. Such a coalition would reflect the majority of the electorate's concern about the dismantling of the social security system, and the introduction of free market policies. -- Peter Siegl

This election shows what too many Germans want: a welfare state from the craddle to the grave. Too many Germans do not understand that their dream has become a utopia, thus unachievable. They look for the government to create jobs. They still do not understand that it is industry that creates jobs. Industry and the word "profit" is a dirty thing for too many Germans. They want to have the cake and eat it too. Too many, as the election shows, dream of social justice and do not ask who is going to pay for it. They know that they need change, but do not want to lose any of their priviliges. Now they have made a mess even worse. -- Johann Heuchert

If by "conservative" the CDU and corporatism is meant, if a restructuring of regulations to foster increased centralization is meant, if nationalism and competition and short-term profit maximization is meant, then "to head back to the conservative side of the political spectrum" is the height of stupidity! There is no future in the past. If, however, a return to the conservative side means decentralized policy making, if it means democracy (only possible under conditions of simultaneous equity of opportunity and of outcome - a feasible standard), if it means reductions in demand with increases in productivity, tolerance and cooperation, and if it means an outlook that considers optimization in terms of 10 - 100 generations or more, then a turn to a truly conservative approach can be hailed as wisdom. -- Clayton Macdonald


The SPD and their coalition partner have the best programs for Germany. I am an American born in Turkey and visit Germany several times a year. In the hands of the Republicans the US is heading downwards, because we chose an inexperienced, Republican president. Germany would follow the same path. Merkel has no experience in politics or in the government. Should they come to power, they would notice that they cannot give what they promised to their conservative Christian base. Good luck, Germany, in the hands of a female Bush. You guys laughed then; now it is our turn. -- Reha Karaoz


I see that Germany has almost the same political split as the USA, right and left. However, Germany, being a modern democracy, has room for some small political parties, whereas our outdated system of winner-takes-all is limited to two parties and is based on our 18th-century constitution. I am glad that the SPD has held its position despite some losses. For the past five years, living under our own form of Christian conservatism, all we got is the war on terror in Iraq. I fail to understand why the German working class deserted the SPD and voted for the rightists and globalists. Free enterprise is fine, but the pictures of New Orleans, are showing the hidden face of these policies. Do Germans really want to have poverty get to the UK and USA level, which is about 10-12 percent? -- Krapotkin, Kingwood, Texas
There is a good chance that Merkel's government could improve Germany's image in US. It appears Schröder has permanently damaged Germany's image. I am a US citizen living in Canada since 1979, and after what Germany went through in World War II, I often imagined that had I been in Germany at that time, I would have joined Bonhoeffer in trying to assasinate Hitler. It could have saved millions of lives. I hope Merkel has a different take on Iraq than Schröder. -- Mary Ann Majchrzak Rombach

American-style elections in Germany and any other European country are not only a good thing, they are inevitable. This is clearly a modernization of the election process and is proven to be sucessful in mobilizing and getting voters more interested in the process. It will increase the participation of the youth in the process. -- Dritan Hizmo



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  • Date 19.09.2005
  • Author Compiled by DW staff
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  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/7C4r
  • Date 19.09.2005
  • Author Compiled by DW staff
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/7C4r