Friday, December 5, 2014

Thuringia and Politics

Out of the eastern side of Germany.....is the state of Thuringia.....a former part of the old DDR (East Germany).  Politics has been an active subject there since the wall went down.  This week, it became a national topic of discussion in Germany.

From the election weeks ago.....it was not a pretty picture in terms of organizing the new state government.  The Linke Party ended up with enough of a lead....that they had a chance to organize the controlling part of the state government.  The Linke Party....for those not familiar with the group....is remains of the old Communist Party of East Germany....organized roughly twenty years ago, with various union membership and leftists.

In a surprising move....they've been able to form the new state government coalition referred to as the "red-red-green" deal.  Linke Party, SPD, and the Green Party.

In the state legislature, the three groups now have forty-six members.  The CDU and the AfD Party?  Thirty-four and eleven....totalling out at forty-five members.  Yeah, it's a pretty close situation, and just one person from the three parties grouped together.....could turn the government into a problem by voting with the CDU and AfD on a particular platform.

Most all German news networks carried it as the big topic of the day.....as the three signed their joint-effort coalition.

What was curious came from the non-state sponsored network news folks.....as they went out and talked to several of the SPD local village, town and city chiefs of the region.  One guy put it bluntly.....the next party meeting in the village....he was handing over his "book" and resigning from the active party membership.

In Germany, politics runs a bit different.  If you want to be regarded as an active member, and actually participate in party meetings locally.....you join and put in a monthly or quarterly donation....which is noted in your log book that you keep.  By paying and attending the local meetings.....you participate, and your opinion matters.  One guy or gal ends up being the representative of his village.

So, you can imagine a village of 2,000 residents.  Once a month, down at the local pub.....a hundred-odd folks meet and present their book to the treasury person.....who notes they are in good standing and some political topics are presented.  These are the SPD enthusiasts who really want to be part of the party, and participate.  A talk ensues, and eventually a vote occurs.  The leader is chosen from the hundred, and will go to the regional meetings as a representative.  From that group, a couple of folks will be chosen to represent the state and attend national meetings.

So, when this guy noted he was handing over his book....he was basically quitting the SPD, in response to the joint team of the Linke Party, SPD and Greens.

How many will quit in Thuringia?  The news folks didn't go into this subject.  Maybe in the weeks to come.....more analysis will occur, and show how this new relationship with the Linke Party was good or bad for the SPD.

The next question though.....would be what party do these people drift over to....if they quit the SPD?  There's just not a similar party, and the alternate deal of joining the Greens is probably not possible.....since they are part of the same coalition.  State elections in Thuringia won't be until 2018.  Would the CDU suddenly gain more votes via the defecting members of the SPD?  Maybe.

All of this adds up to more political intrigue in Germany, and a difficult path in the future as both the Linke Party and AfD become more popular.

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