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German Press Review: Only Winners?

Germany's editorial writers Tuesday continued their comments on the election results North Rhine-Westphalia. Most found it laughable that the big political parties claimed success in the election results.

The Aachener Nachrichten recalled the numbers. "The conservatives lost 6.9 percent," the paper pointed out, but nonetheless held on to their lead in North Rhine-Westphalia, and declared the election a loss for their rivals, the Social Democrats. The paper went on to mock Claudia Roth of the Green Party for saying the "reason that the conservatives lost so many votes was their position on health care." The paper fretted about the number of "explanations, explanations, explanations" for the results and regretted that "the figures can't just speak for themselves."

The Express of Cologne had a math problem of its own. "If a party gets 50 percent of the vote, and only 50 percent of people vote, then the party only has the support of a quarter of the population," the daily wrote. The paper continued that "to claim victory is like saying: vote as you like -- we'll do what we want." By the end of the editorial the paper even asked, "Why go vote at all?" and declared "the great loser" to be democracy.

The Kölnische Rundschau found all the positive interpretations "embarassing" and wanted to know "if both the conservatives and the Social Democrats have forgotten what happened in Saxony and Brandenburg" a few weeks ago. In state elections there both parties both took huge losses, although they are now claiming comebacks.

The "ritualized babble" of some German politicians "is so annoying, that some idiots think they have to punish everybody, and do it by voting for a party that considers Adolf Hitler a great German statesman," Munich's Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote, referring to the elections that saw right extremist parties win parliamentary seats.

"Everybody's celebrating in the muck, but still the duck remains a duck," the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung summarized, making use of an old farmer's saying.

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