Federal presidential election: spd awaits cdu proposal
Federal presidential election: spd waits for cdu proposal

Graphic: Kemmi.l, User:My name, Zesel. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

ozdemir makes advances to Union

Yesterday at noon, German President Joachim Gauck announced that he will not run for a second term in office. An understandable decision: The 217.000 euros high "Honorary salary for life" and other benefits are due to him after only one term in office. Only a premature resignation had endangered the payments – but also here Gauck’s predecessor Wulff had shown how to implement this regulation with reference to "political grounds" can circumvent the resignation.

Gauck’s successor will be elected on 12. February 2017 elected. Unlike in Austria, this is not done by the people, but by the 1.262-member Federal Assembly, composed of all 631 members of the Bundestag and an equal number of representatives of the state parliaments. Because elections will be held in September in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Berlin, it is not yet clear exactly how this Federal Assembly (for which the Bundestag is rebuilt at considerable expense each time to accommodate more seats) will be composed.

A prediction of choice.de gives the Union therein 544 to 546, the SPD 386 to 389, the Grunen 146 to 147, the Left 94, the Liberals 31, the AfD 30, the Pirates 14, the Freie Wahlern 10 seats and the NDP and the Danish and Frisian minority representatives one seat each. Deviations from this are possible not only because of elections, but also after faction changes and changes in the population of the countries.

Because most of the members of the Federal Assembly were elected long before Angela Merkel’s radical change of course last September, the Federal Assembly does not reflect either the current electoral will or a trend. In the past, however, it has been used several times to test new alliances between parties. In 1969, for example, FDP members of parliament elected SPD candidate Gustav Heinemann as Federal President – and shortly thereafter Willy Brandt as Federal Chancellor.

Such a federal test would also be possible at the next federal presidential election. For example, the CDU/CSU and the Grune together came to a comfortable majority of up to 693 votes in the Federal Assembly if they agreed on a common candidate. Grune leader ozdemir already made indirect advances to the Union today and demanded that Mabstab for the candidate should not be that the coalition thus "live peacefully" can.

For a black-green coalition, which could be initiated by a federal president elected by the CDU/CSU and the Greens, however, things look bleak in the polls for the next federal election: With 30 and 13 percent, respectively, the two parties are unlikely to achieve an absolute mandate majority.

So far, the outlook for a continuation of the grand coalition of the former people’s parties is somewhat better: in the latest INSA poll, they have lost the majority of votes, but not yet the majority of mandates, because the German electoral system attributes votes for parties that fall under the five-percent hurdle to parties for which the voters did not vote at all. If the coalition loses another three to four points, however, the parliamentary majority would also be gone.

SPD leader Gabriel concluded against the Bild-newspaper explicitly does not rule out that his party will vote for the Bundestag presidential candidate nominated by the CDU/CSU. But first he wants to wait and see who it is. Meanwhile, Sahra Wagenknecht, the leader of the Left Party, is campaigning for a joint candidate from the SPD, the Green Party and the Left Party.

Together, however, the three parties had only 630 participants in the federal assembly and had to rely on Friesen, and Danes or on pirates. Moreover, it is unlikely that the rather heterogeneous parties, in which disagreements are sometimes settled with pie-in-the-sky violence, will agree on a common candidate without producing coarser dissenting groups.

If no candidate achieves an absolute majority in the first two ballots, then a relative majority is sufficient in the third ballot. If this happens, a red-red-green candidate would also have a chance, because the CDU/CSU, FDP, FW and AfD would probably not be able to agree on a common opponent. Not to mention the NPD. If the SPD, Grune and Linke cannot agree, the CDU/CSU candidate will probably win with a relative majority in the third round of voting.

Possible candidates

Possible candidates mentioned in the media so far include, on the CDU/CSU side, Bundestag President Norbert Lammert, Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, Federal Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (who was in talks for the post a few years ago), and the eccentrically coiffed CSU member of parliament Gerda Hasselfeldt – the latter mainly because there is speculation that her party leader Horst Seehofer wants to relegate her to a post where she will get in his way less than she does now.

Among SPD politicians, the media have so far focused on Aubenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Federal Family Minister Manuela Schwesig – the latter mainly on the argument that she is a woman. Green Baden-Wurttemberg Premier Winfried Kretschmann could be a black-green compromise candidate if he is willing to go into the presidential race as early as next year and leave his state to his successor of Circassian origin, Cem ozdemir.

Suggestions from burgers

Much less likely (but also more interesting) are the proposals made by burgers in social media: For example, Bernie Sanders, the likely losing U.S. presidential candidate, has fans in Germany, as does Norbert Hofer, the losing Austrian federal presidential candidate. In order for them to be elected, however, these candidates first had to be burgled or the Basic Law had to be amended, Article 54(1) of which speaks only of Germans. In the case of Edward Snowden, who is also mentioned more frequently, an additional obstacle was that he had reached the age of 40. has not yet reached the age of majority.

The presumed entertainment value is often at the forefront of the choice for the office, which has little political power: Harald Schmidt, Volker Pispers and Lena Meyer-Landrut, for example, are mentioned. Others would like to be as far away from the parties as possible and advocate bloggers like Felix von Leitner. This is a highly unrealistic wish in view of the fact that the Federal President is elected by representatives of the parties.