wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04FRANKFURT7903
2004-09-10 14:52:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Consulate Frankfurt
Cable title:  

CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS RETAIN ABSOLUTE MAJORITY IN

Tags:   PGOV  PINR  PREL  GM 
pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 FRANKFURT 007903 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/10/2014
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL GM
SUBJECT: CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS RETAIN ABSOLUTE MAJORITY IN
SAARLAND ELECTIONS; FAR-RIGHT NPD MAKES SURPRISING GAINS

REF: A. BERLIN 2736


B. 2003 FRANKFURT 3946

C. 2003 FRANKFURT 5668

D. 2003 FRANKFURT 9706

E. FRANKFURT 4964

F. FRANKFURT 5178

G. FRANKFURT 5692

H. FRANKFURT 5927

I. FRANKFURT 7642

J. BERLIN 3066

Classified By: Deputy Principal Officer Geeta Pasi, reasons 1.4(b) and
(d)

-------
SUMMARY
-------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 FRANKFURT 007903

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/10/2014
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL GM
SUBJECT: CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS RETAIN ABSOLUTE MAJORITY IN
SAARLAND ELECTIONS; FAR-RIGHT NPD MAKES SURPRISING GAINS

REF: A. BERLIN 2736


B. 2003 FRANKFURT 3946

C. 2003 FRANKFURT 5668

D. 2003 FRANKFURT 9706

E. FRANKFURT 4964

F. FRANKFURT 5178

G. FRANKFURT 5692

H. FRANKFURT 5927

I. FRANKFURT 7642

J. BERLIN 3066

Classified By: Deputy Principal Officer Geeta Pasi, reasons 1.4(b) and
(d)

--------------
SUMMARY
--------------


1. (U) Led by popular Minister-President Peter Mueller,
Saarland Christian Democrats (CDU) netted an impressive 47.5%
of the vote in September 5 elections and defended their
absolute majority in the state assembly. Damaged by public
disenchantment with Hartz IV reforms (Ref A), Social
Democrats (SPD) polled 30.8%, a 13.6% drop from 1999 and the
party's second-worst result in the postwar era. Greens and
Free Democrats (FDP) re-entered Parliament (with 5.6% and
5.2% respectively) after failing to cross the five-percent
threshold in 1999. The far-right National Democrats (NPD)
capitalized on anti-reform sentiment to capture 4% of the
vote, a four-fold increase from 1999. Voter turnout was
55.5%, the lowest in any western German state since the end
of World War II. END SUMMARY.

--------------
Victorious CDU Cites Botched National Reforms
--------------


2. (C) The Saarland CDU coasted to victory on the coattails
of popular Minister-President Peter Mueller, retaining its
absolute majority in the state parliament with 47.5% of the
vote (up 2%). Meanwhile, Saarland Social Democrats suffered
losses across the board, winning in only three of the state's
52 districts. A lone bright spot for the SPD was the strong
showing of Saarbruecken mayoral candidate Charlotte Britz,
expected to beat Josef Heckmann (CDU) in the upcoming runoff.
Voter turnout was 55.5%, the lowest in postwar German
history. Sixty-thousand SPD voters from 1999 (out of 800,000
eligible voters) stayed home during this election while
30,000 cast votes for other parties. In a meeting with the

Ambassador two days after his victory, Minister-President
Mueller attributed the strong CDU showing to the SPD's
failure to properly explain and implement Agenda 2010 reforms.

-------------- --------------
...While Social Democrats Finger Left-Wing Lafontaine
-------------- --------------


3. (U) SPD leader Heiko Maas blamed the party's poor
performance on former Minister-President and outspoken
left-wing activist Oskar Lafontaine. Maas characterized
Lafontaine as a divisive force whose high-profile campaign
against Agenda 2010 had compromised the state party's
campaign for moderate reform. National SPD chairman Franz
Muntefering accused Lafontaine of scuttling the campaign. In
an interview with the daily tabloid Bild Zeitung (which has
the largest circulation in Germany), Lafontaine rejected the
accusations and blamed the SPD loss on the failed Agenda
2010, saying that Social Democrats would continue to lose
elections as long as Chancellor Schroeder maintains the
present course of reform.

-------------- --------------
Far-Right National Democrats Make Disturbing Gains
-------------- --------------


4. (SBU) The far-right and anti-immigrant National
Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) received 4% of the vote, a
four-fold increase from 1999 and their best showing since

1962. Observers express particular concern that the party
polled 11% among young voters (more than the mainstream FDP,
for instance). Saarland NPD standard-bearer Peter Marx
brandished the result as a sign that the NPD will "leave the
SPD behind" in upcoming Saxony elections. Political
observers attributed the far-right's surge to anti-reform
sentiment (many of the votes came from former SPD
strongholds) and to a new level of cooperation among
right-wing parties. Following the June 2004 agreement
between the NPD and DVU (German People's Union) to coordinate
election lists in Brandenburg and Saxony, the far-right
Republicans (Republikaner, who polled 1.4% in 1999) agreed to
withdraw from Saarland elections to clear the way for the NPD
and avoid splitting the right-wing vote.

--------------
Mainstream Small Parties Also Make Big Moves
--------------


5. (SBU) Both the FDP and the Greens posted clear gains in
the recent election. Green party officials hailed their 5.6%
showing as a significant achievement given Saarland's largely
rural and conservative electorate. Charismatic FDP
standard-bearer Christoph Hartmann noted that the FDP is now
on an equal footing with the Greens in Saarland and credited
the public's desire for a "centrist opposition party"
(according to polls, most voters believed the FDP would not
end up in coalition with the CDU). The Party for Democratic
Socialism (PDS) polled a disappointing 2.3% despite months of
intensive campaigning, underscoring that party's weakness
outside its power base in eastern Germany.

COMMENT
--------------


6. (SBU) Mueller's strong performance further cements his
status as a rising star among conservatives and positions him
as a potential player in any CDU national government
following federal elections in 2006. The Saarland SPD
stumbled in its campaign to mobilize its base through
Lafontaine's high profile: left-wing voters dismissed Maas's
moderate manifesto, while centrists bristled at Lafontaine's
media crusade against Agenda 2010. Growing support for the
NPD reform critique could be a harbinger of greater far-right
gains in upcoming east German state elections.
BODDE