Skip to comments.Schroeder party trounced in German state vote: exit polls
Posted on 02/29/2004 11:15:33 AM PST by jalisco555
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats were trounced in a regional election in the city-state of Hamburg seen as a key test for his center-left government, exit polls said.
The polls showed Schroeder's SPD taking between 29 and 32 percent to between 46.5 and 48 percent for the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), who currently lead the right-wing populist government.
Voters, who turned out in droves, had been expected to punish the Social Democrats over Schroeder's unpopular economic reform drive.
But the outcome, if confirmed, would mark the worst result for the SPD in the northern city-state since World War II.
The ballot was seen as a key first test for the chancellor as he heads into a marathon election year with 14 municipal, state and European polls.
The Greens party, which is the junior partner in the national ruling coalition, tallied between 12.5 and 13 percent.
The CDU, which may now be able to lead Germany's second city with an absolute majority, ran its campaign on the popularity of Mayor Ole von Beust.
Beust, an affable aristocrat, claimed credit for a renaissance in the cosmopolitan city, once notorious for its rough-and-tumble dock district, high crime rate and booming prostitution and drugs trades.
SPD candidate Thomas Mirow, an uncharismatic technocrat, had attempted to distance himself from Schroeder's government in Berlin, focusing on local issues such as schools and health care facilities.
The election was called after Hamburg's right-wing governing coalition collapsed in acrimony in December after two and a half years in power.
For normally sleepy state politics the campaign has been unusually lively, spattered with sex allegations, an assassination bid, the sacking of a far-right populist labelled the "Judge without Mercy" and a drag queen who is running on her own ticket.
The populist judge, Ronald Schill, only scored three percent with his new Pro Deutsche Mitte party and will not be eligible for representation in the state legislature.
But recall that in France, Chirac is at least nominally a conservative, having triumphed over a Socialist; and in the UK, Labour's Tony Blair has supported our Iraq policy to a far greater extent than would the Conservative Party. So for me, it's sometimes a tough call.
Not so tough in Germany, though. Herr Schroeder should be sent packing.
Unfortunately, polls indicate it seems to be working fairly well in America.
Nope, actually it's almost always been the other way around.
It will be interesting to see if there is a shift in Berlin and Bavaria as well.
I'd welcome a change in Berlin but certainly not in Bavaria. Heck, Bavaria is THE conservative stronghold in Germany.
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