| Lower Saxonia State Election of 2013
I've already sent my ballot in per mail, after having given up my "Bavarian citizenship" for the one in Lower Saxonia when I started my studies in the city of Göttingen.
The CDU-FDP currently form the state government, with Minister-President McAllister hoping to get elected to the office he currently holds for the first time. He replaced our (now former) State President Christian Wulff, who resigned his post.
Elections in Lower Saxonia are often thought to be "small general elections" which might be even more the case, as we'll hold our general elections in September this year. This election will indeed have far reaching consequences.
The CDU is polling very strong at 41%, with the SPD at 33%, the Greens at 13%, the FDP barely clearing the 5% threshold with both the Left and the Pirates failing to get above 3%.
Every single party will take a close eye on the election results tomorrow, as it'll have far reaching consequences. Here are a couple of things to watch for.
(1) FDP fails the 5% thresholds - that'll be the one thing to watch for tomorrow. If they manage to get above 5%, the Party Chairman Philip Rösler might(!) evade yet another near-death experience. With the second most powerful figure in the party calling for an earlier party convention to decide on party leadership, even clearing 5% tomorrow might not be enough to save him. General election polls have shwon the FDP below 5% for some time now. The party, which garnered 14% of the votes in 2009 is becoming more and more irrelevant.
(2) FDP clears the 5% - if they manage, it is more then certain that the CDU-FDP state government will continue to exist. McAllister - described as one of Merkel's favorites - will solidify his status as one of the party's rising stars. With the CDU polling at it's absolute best in general election polls in years now at 42%, a victory in Lower Saxonia would move Merkel and the CDU/CSU into a perfect position for the fall campaign.
(3) SPD and Greens win - if the FDP fails the 5%, the CDU won't have the majority it needs, as a CDU-Green coalition is virtually impossible at this point and date. If they take that state, the SPD and the Greens will have an outright majority in the Budesrat, allowing them to do whatever they want there, ie blocking Merkel's every moves.
(4) Steinbrück - Peer Steinbrück, the SPD's candidate for chancellor, served as the Secretary of Treasury during the Great Coalition from 2005-2009, directly under Merkel. People liked him very much during that time, many regard him as a great orator (personally, I have no clue where that one's coming from). After the rather pale performance of their last candidate in 2009, the SPD nominated Peer Steinbrück, who has "a habit of telling it how he sees it". The SPD was thrilled then ... now, party leaders have to go on television, saying that he'll stay the party's nominee. What happened? Let me put it this way: Steinbrück is trying very hard to never let go off an opportunity to place his foot firmly in his mouth. Irking people with what has been described by the press (a tad unfairly, tbqh) "complaining" about the chancellor's low salary ("every local bank manager gets more money"), some shady deals while receiving hundreds of thousands of euros as speaking fees while neglecting his mandate in the Budestag, the list goes on and on. The SPD is polling at it's absolute worst, atm and Steinbrück's favorability ratings are tanking.
If the SPD fails to fire it's grand opening salvo tomorrow, the SPD will once again have to answer the question whether it wouldn't be better to back a different horse, so to speak. But whom? Both the former Chancellor candidate (Frank Walter-Steinmeier, the SPD leader in the Bundestag) and the Party Chairman Sigmar Gabriel are doubted to have a prayer against Merkel's favorability ratings which are enough to carry her party to new highs in polls.
If you are interested in the polls, may I direct you to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lower_Saxony_state_election,_2013), it has a nice compilation of all the polls.
Originally, I didn't intend to do this as a diary, but after it got longer and longer, I decided to make this my first diary. It's nothing special and certainly doesn't live up to the quality all the distinguished readers of this webpage expect to find in a diary, but I thought it's (a) better then nothing and (b) the only thing I could manage after spending 15 straight hours at the clinic.
If you have any question, please fire away, I will do my best to answer them.