German elections took place last weekend in Germany. When you come from a country where the elections are quite an event, where an alcohol ban is put in place 24 hours before the ballots start, where political propaganda makes it difficult to walk on the street, seeing how clean, organized, and seemingly uneventful the process is in Germany, is, to say the least, baffling. And it’s even more baffling when around 78% of the possible voters cast their ballots (down from 79.1% in 2002).
As of now, since the results were so tight and neither of the main parties obtained a majority, it’s not yet clear who the next Chancellor will be. Current German electoral system attempts to avoid the mistakes of the Weimar Republic and, thus, a majority is needed to govern. Since Germans do not vote for a Chancellor but for a party, it’s up now to coalitions to decide who could take the seat. The coalitions have been named, after the identifying colors of each party, as country flags or even traffic lights. Perhaps due the fact that many Germans werenâ€™t sure for which party to vote, other parties obtained higher results.
I personally would like SchrÃ¶der to stay longer to allow Agenda 2010 to become a reality. Besides, his attitude towards foreigners is less dismissive than Merkel’s. And I don’t even want to mention her party’s interest in increasing sales tax. Finally, the lady is too much in favor of US policies, particularly when it comes to supporting international conflicts.
It does stand out the left party, in my opinion the victor of the German Federal Elections 2005 (51 more seats in the Parliament, when most parties lost seats, up from three), obtained most of its vote in former Eastern Germany and, more surprising still, East Berlin!
After almost two years in Germany, I stumbled upon a blog written by an expatriate who has managed to capture the general feeling of impotence and amused curiousity that invades those who, like myself, have been taken away from their place of origin and mingle among foreigners, and thus forever, or at least for the time being, bear the title of foreigners. I have really been touched and often wept and laughed with her posts, her adventures, her language dilemmas, as she strives to survive in Germany married to a German who has been born to foreigners. Sound familiar?
My favorite tenor is retiring. He has begun an international tour to cover many of the scenarios that witnessed his artistry for the past forty years. He has called it the “Worldwide Farewell Celebration Tour”, and it will very likely be his last.
We have tickets to see him for the last time in Stuttgart. Will keep you posted on how it went.
Bravo tenore, grande maestro. Grazie di tutto.