|Chancellor Angela Merkel's party was crushed yet again by voters angry about bailouts.|
Voters vent their hostility on Conservatives for using taxpayers’ money to address the euro crisis
- The Pro-Freedom, Pro-Business Free Democrats lose all their seats to Leftists
- Merkel is slapped down in yet another state election
- Voters are angry at the so-called "Conservatives" for bailing out banks and other nations.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government was rocked on Sunday night when the Free Democrats, the junior partner in her national coalition, lost all their seats in Berlin’s city parliament in a key state election.
Merkel’s Christian Democrats came second in the polls, as expected, against the incumbent Social Democrat party. But the failure of the Free Democrats to clear the 5 per cent threshold required to gain a single seat – the fifth time in this year’s seven state votes – looked set to further destabilize a weak coalition.
The SPD could get 29.3 per cent of the vote, down from 30.8 per cent, with the Greens gaining five points to hit 18.1 per cent. The Christian Democrats were set to win 23.5 per cent, slightly up on the previous election, with 11.5 per cent for the Left party.
Governing Berlin with the Greens would allow the Social Democrats to signal an alternative to Ms Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the Free Democrats, who are bickering under the strain of the euro crisis.
A red-green coalition in Berlin could also embolden Mr Wowereit to seek the SPD nomination to challenge Ms Merkel in the next national election, pegged for late 2013 if her national government can survive.
Sigmar Gabriel, national leader of the Social Democrats, called on Ms Merkel to disband her coalition with the Free Democrats because of their hostility to using taxpayers’ money to address the euro crisis.
If the chancellor wanted to “live up to the historic responsibility for Germany and Europe”, he said in Der Tagesspiegel on Sunday, Ms Merkel should recognise she “cannot go on governing with this coalition”.
The collapse of the FDP was thrown into relief by the Pirate party. Advocating direct democracy and better privacy safeguards, it looked set to enter a first parliament in Germany with 8.5 per cent.
Christian Lindner, the Free Democrats’ national general secretary, called the Berlin result “a low point and a wake-up call” for the party leadership, although he said it had warned of a tough election year.
|Supporters of the internet freedom Pirate Party celebrate after the first exit polls |
of the Berlin state election.
Pirate Party is elected
An upstart band of internet freedom activists are to enter Berlin's state parliament, ousting the Free Democrats, Angela Merkel's junior partner in the unpopular national government. It marks a remarkable success for the small Pirate party, which attracted 8.5% of the vote, winning its first ever seats in a state parliament, according to the first exit polls on Sunday, reports the UK Guardian.
Their irreverent campaign captured the imagination of young voters as the party expanded its platform from an original focus on filesharing, censorship and data protection, to include social issues and citizens' rights.
The party, which was founded in 2006, was "in tune with the Berlin vibe with their relaxed campaign", Holger Liljeberg of the Info polling institute, told Reuters. "They focus a lot on liberalism, freedom and self-determination."
Once opinion pollsters began to predict that they might overcome the crucial 5% hurdle to get into parliament, the momentum behind the Pirates began to grow, with supporters no longer worrying that a vote for them would be wasted.
For more on this story