SPD poised to retain power in state poll

21st February 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 February 2005, KIEL - The Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens lost their majority in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, but appeared poised on Monday to continue in power with the help of a tiny party representing Danish and Frisian ethnic groups. Anke Spoorendonk, leader of the SSW party, signalled that her party may throw its weight to tip the scales in favour of a further SPD-Greens government in Germany's northernmost state. According to the final tallies , the conservative opposition Christian Democrat

21 February 2005

KIEL - The Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens lost their majority in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, but appeared poised on Monday to continue in power with the help of a tiny party representing Danish and Frisian ethnic groups.

Anke Spoorendonk, leader of the SSW party, signalled that her party may throw its weight to tip the scales in favour of a further SPD-Greens government in Germany's northernmost state.

According to the final tallies , the conservative opposition Christian Democratic Union emerged as the strongest party in state elections held Sunday, gaining five percentage points to 40.2 percent. Led by Peter Harry Carstensen, a deputy in the national parliament, the CDU won 30 seats in the state legislature.

The SPD, led by Premier Heide Simonis. lost 4.4 percent to 38.7 percent - retaining 29 seats. Their coalition partner, the Greens, were steady at 6.2 percent, which translated into four seats.

The liberal Free Democrats (FDP) - who would side with the CDU in forming a government - won 6.6 percent for four seats.

With neither the CDU-FDP (34 seats) nor the SPD-Greens (33 seats) gaining the 35 seats needed for the majority in the 69-seat state parliament, it put the SSW in position to broker a new government.

The SSW won 3.6 percent, for 2 seats. The minimum 5 percent threshold for parties to win parliamentary seats at the national level in Germany does not apply at the state level to parties representing ethnic minorities.

Spoorendonk told German television her party would be open to talks, but she hinted that the SSW was leaning toward the SPD-Greens. In the past, the SSW has usually sided with the SPD on key policy issues.

Noting that the CDU and FDP failed to gain the majority in the state vote, she said "there is possibly a majority for another option".

The SPD has been in power in Kiel since 1988, including in coalition with the Greens since 1996.

Simonis, 61, who has led the state since 1993, said she would hold talks with the Greens and SSW on forming a coalition.

Even if the SPD holds on, the outcome is another setback for the Social Democrats at the national level. The SPD has fallen sharply in opinion surveys amid high unemployment and the unpopular social and labour reform programme put through by the government of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, in a national coalition with the Greens.

The next test for the established parties comes on 22 May in the heavily industrial state of North Rhine-Westphalia, traditionally an SPD bastion, where the party also shares power with the Greens.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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