Germany. The Social Democratic Government Party SPD continued its crusade when the state elections were first held in Schleswig-Holstein in February and then in North Rhine-Westphalia in May. The latter defeat was particularly noticeable because the state is traditionally a social democratic stronghold where the SPD has ruled for 39 years. The result led to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder surprisingly requesting new elections. He got what he wanted; the government lost a vote of confidence and President Horst Köhler announced new elections. In September, voters had to say theirs, a year before the general election.
According to countryaah, Berlin is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Germany. The Christian Democrats appointed party leader Angela Merkel as chancellor candidate. A new alliance on the left, Die Linke, was also formed when former SPD leader Oskar Lafontaine resigned from the party in protest of “anti-socialist politics”. He and other defunct Social Democrats joined forces with the former East German Communists in the PDS.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym GM stands for the country of Germany and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
The Christian Democrats led big in opinion polls during the summer; it looked as if CDU and the Bavarian sister party CSU could get their own majority. But the support then dropped so sharply that even the CDU/CSU looked like a loser when the election results were clear, despite being the biggest. The Christian Democrats took home just over 35% of the vote, while the SPD, after a hefty promotion at the end, got just over 34%. The liberal FDP went ahead and gained almost 10%, but that was not enough to form government with the Christian Democrats. The Green Party got 8%, which meant that there was no basis for a new red-green coalition either. Neither of the two major parties was interested in support from Die Linke, who took home nearly 9%.
The currency output thus gave a locked position; both Schröder and Merkel wanted to form a government. After a month, however, their parties agreed to rule together in a so-called large coalition. The lengthy coalition negotiations that followed seemed to break down when the SPD’s chairman Franz Müntefering suddenly resigned due to an internal dispute. But the Social Democrats quickly chose Matthias Platzeck as new leader and Müntefering continued to participate in the negotiations.
In November, two months after the election, Angela Merkel took over as Germany’s first female Chancellor. She was also the first head of government from old East Germany, a region that received extra political weight because the new SPD leader Platzeck also came from there. Schröder was not a member of the government, but the SPD held half of the government posts, including the heavy foreign, finance and justice ministerial posts.
Merkel explained when taking office that the government’s main task was to decontaminate the state’s poor finances and reduce unemployment. In February, the number of unemployed had exceeded 5 million, the highest figure since the beginning of the 1930s, but had fallen to just over 4.5 million in November.
The government program promised a steel bath without major ideological considerations: The Christian Democrats had to accept delayed tax cuts and instead tightened taxes for high-income earners, while the Social Democrats had to agree to restrictions on labor law. A decision to raise VAT from 16 to 19% from 2007 has drawn criticism from both business and trade unions, and few have cheered on the message that the retirement age is gradually increasing from 65 to 67 years.
In August, Moroccan Mounir Motassadeq was sentenced to seven years in prison for belonging to a terrorist organization. However, he was cleared of suspicions of having participated in planning the terrorist attack in the United States on September 11, 2001, a crime he was convicted of in 2003.
In October, the reconstructed Baroque church Frauenkirche in Dresden was inaugurated. The church had been a ruin after the 1945 bombing.
2005 Civil regeneration of power
In July, Schröder forced a vote of confidence in the Bundestag, which he deliberately lost. This led to the president printing parliamentary elections held in September. Despite a large bourgeois CDU / CSU lead in the weeks leading up to the election, the gap between the two blocs diminished in the days leading up to the election itself. The SPD ended up being the biggest party, but after a few weeks of tactical play, the SPD had to leave it to the CDU / CSU to form a large coalition government, where the SPD also got a seat. New Chancellor became CDU leader Angela Merkel. Vice Chancellor should have been the SPD’s chairman, Franz Müntefering, but he resigned from the chair in the middle of the protest in protest that the SPD had elected a more left-wing Social Democratic vice-president.
In May 2006, German Foreign Minister visited Washington in an effort to improve relations between the two countries. The relationship had cooled off as a result of Germany’s opposition to the US war adventure in Asia. In June, Germany officially requested extradition of 13 CIA agents involved in the abduction of German-Lebanese Khaled el-Masri in Macedonia in 2003. The United States responded that Germany wanted to “take advantage of information from the CIA, but without even getting dirt on your fingers ».
In June 2009, a parliamentary commission of inquiry declared that neither the German authorities nor the intelligence service had any responsibility for the extradition of Khaled el Masri, Murat Kurnaz and Mohammad Zammar to the United States, who subsequently subjected them to torture. A minority in the commission argued that the federal government had obstructed the investigation. The Constitutional Court handed down the month following an order stating that the government had violated the constitution because it had restricted the Commission’s access to information without providing full information as to why.
The rising racism and persecution of minorities – especially Muslims – has led to increasing criticism from the UN Human Rights Council, and the special rapporteurs on the subject. racism and torture. The xenophobia started on the radical right wing, but the Nazi tendencies are now reaching into several state and federal governments. In 2008-09, several states passed laws prohibiting women from wearing headgear – a measure aimed at Muslim women sharply criticized by human rights organizations. In September 2009, the federal government decided to start deporting refugees and immigrants to torture states – in violation of the torture convention. It sparked new international condemnation of the Federal Republic.
Also in September, the German military ordered a bombing in Afghanistan that cost at least 142 lives. At least half of these were civilians. The massacre quickly brought the German Minister of War, Franz Josef Jung, into political storms as he lied in Parliament about the presence of civilian killers. Merkel tried to shut down the affair when, in forming her new government in October, she moved him to the post of Secretary of Labor, but the following month he had to resign because of the Afghanistan massacre.
The September 2009 general election was a victory for the right wing. CDU / CSU went well up 1.4% to 33.8%, but FDP went up 4.8% to 14.6%. The two parties subsequently formed government, when together they had a majority in the Bundestag. The SPD under Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s leadership, in turn, got a huge bang as the party went back 11.2% to 23%. Steinmeier nonetheless continued on the chair. The serious slump was the voters’ verdict over the four-year coalition with the right wing. The Left, Die Linke, led by former Social Democrat Oskar Lafontaine and Gregor Gysi, on the other hand rose 3.2% to 11.9%. The Greens went up 2.6% to 10.7%.
As a result of the SPD’s major electoral defeat, party chairman Franz Müntefering resigned from the post in November and was replaced by Sigmar Gabriel.
The global economic crisis that really struck in 2008 hit Germany hard. As in other European countries, both private, banks and mortgage banks had plunged into housing speculation. In Germany, it brought one of the country’s largest mortgage lenders, Hypo Real Estate on the brink of bankruptcy. In October 2008, other German banks had to go in with 30 billion. € and the Federal Bank with another 20 billion. € to save the institute from collapse. During 2009, it was completely nationalized.
Several sectors of the industry were hit hard by the crisis. This included automotive industry as car sales globally almost stopped. Therefore, GDP fell by 4.9% in 2009. Unlike most other Europeans, however, it managed to prevent a sharp rise in unemployment. Instead, it fell from 7.4% in March 2009 to 7.3% in 2010. Youth unemployment was 10%. Far below the EU average. A significant explanation for the crisis did not immediately hit harder was that in January 2009, the Merkel government adopted an economic stimulus package that pumped $ 70 billion. € into the economy to prevent collapse in the most sensitive sectors.
The stimulus package and rescue plans for other parts of the EU of hundreds of billions However, € also had a price. The state budget deficit in 2010 was expected to be 5.5% – almost double what the EU allows. Therefore, in the spring of 2010, Merkel announced that $ 80 billion should be saved. € in the period up to 2015:
- 15,000 public jobs must be closed down
- Long-term unemployed get cut in their benefits
- People on cash assistance lose pension savings subsidies
- The child check is cut down