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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06FRANKFURT2124
2006-03-28 10:55:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Consulate Frankfurt
Cable title:  

SPD Gains Majority in Rheinland-Pfalz; Baden-

Tags:   PGOV  PINR  GM 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO4010
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHFT #2124/01 0871055
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281055Z MAR 06
FM AMCONSUL FRANKFURT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2919
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 FRANKFURT 002124 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/AGS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR GM
SUBJECT: SPD Gains Majority in Rheinland-Pfalz; Baden-
Wuerttemberg CDU/FDP Coalition Expands Lead

REF: A) Frankfurt 1273; B) 2005 Frankfurt 8530

Sensitive but unclassified; not for internet distribution.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 FRANKFURT 002124

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/AGS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR GM
SUBJECT: SPD Gains Majority in Rheinland-Pfalz; Baden-
Wuerttemberg CDU/FDP Coalition Expands Lead

REF: A) Frankfurt 1273; B) 2005 Frankfurt 8530

Sensitive but unclassified; not for internet distribution.


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: March 26 state elections strengthened both
Rheinland-Pfalz (R-P) Minister-President Kurt Beck (SPD/Social
Democrats) and Baden-Wuerttemberg (B-W) Minister-President
Guenther Oettinger (CDU/Christian Democrats). Beck's popularity
gave the ruling SPD an absolute seat majority and handed
conservatives their worst defeat ever in the state, prompting CDU
standard-bearer Christoph Boehr to resign. In B-W, Oettinger
narrowly missed an absolute majority and both the CDU and FDP
picked up seats, ensuring a comfortable majority in the new
parliament. The B-W SPD lost a quarter of its voters, casting in
doubt the future of standard-bearer Ute Vogt. The Greens polled
strongly in B-W but missed the five-percent threshold in R-P.
Observers expressed relief at the poor showing of far-right and
far-left parties in both states. END SUMMARY.

--------------
Rheinland-Pfalz
--------------


2. (U) Interim results for Rheinland-Pfalz (2001 for comparison):

2006 (2001)
-------------- --------------
SPD: 45.6% (44.7%)
CDU: 32.8% (35.3%)
FDP: 8.0% (7.8%)
Greens: 4.6% (5.2%)
WASG: 2.5% -


3. (SBU) With 45.6% of the vote, M-P Beck and Social Democrats
achieved the unthinkable -- an absolute majority of the seats (53
seats out of 101) in historically conservative Rheinland-Pfalz
(the home state of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl). Beck's broad
popularity and voter satisfaction with the governing SPD/FDP
coalition were key to the SPD's strong showing. The SPD can now
rule alone, although Beck said he would talk with the FDP/Free
Democrats about continuing their present coalition (in power
since 1994). Losers included R-P conservatives (who polled only
32.8%, an all-time low) and Greens (who failed to cross the five
percent hurdle after 18 years in parliament). Accepting
responsibility for what CDU activists called a "disastrous"

showing, Christoph Boehr announced his resignation as CDU state
chairman and caucus chief. CDU Landtag members Christian Baldauf
and Josef Rosenbauer are considered the most likely contenders to
succeed Boehr as caucus chairman.

--------------
Baden-Wuerttemberg
--------------


4. (U) The CDU, Greens, and FDP all posted gains in Baden-
Wuerttemberg (2001 for comparison):

2006 (2001)
-------------- --------------
CDU: 44.2% (44.8%)
SPD: 25.2% (33.3%)
Greens: 11.7% (7.7%)
FDP: 10.7% (8.1%)
WASG: 3.1% -
Republikaner: 2.5% (4.4%)


5. (SBU) The B-W CDU narrowly missed an absolute majority (by one
seat) and will hold 69 of the 139 seats in the new parliament.
The election was a debacle for Social Democrats who lost a
quarter of their voters. SPD standard-bearer Ute Vogt faces an
uncertain future. The Greens edged out the FDP to become third
strongest party. M-P Oettinger announced that he would hold
coalition negotiations with all parties in parliament. Greens
standard-bearer Winfried Kretschmann welcomed talks with
Oettinger, arguing that a "Black/Green" coalition would be more
attractive to voters than the current CDU/FDP administration.

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


6. (SBU) State political observers in both states viewed the
election results as an endorsement of the status quo and the
grand coalition in Berlin, with M-P Oettinger and especially M-P
Beck as the clear winners. Oettinger's strong showing will allow
him to cast off the shadow of predecessor Erwin Teufel and bring
order to a ruling party known for recent in-fighting. While
Oettinger has hinted over the years that he could work with the

FRANKFURT 00002124 002 OF 002


Greens, the FDP/Liberals remain the CDU's most likely coalition
partner.


7. (SBU) The elections will mean far-reaching changes for state
opposition parties. The R-P Christian Democrats look set to re-
organize themselves under a new leadership team (NOTE: on
election night, conservative party insiders were scrambling to
mobilize support for new leadership while young conservatives
told us they welcomed the debacle as a clarion call for
"revolution" within the party's ranks -- END NOTE). In B-W,
Social Democrats are likely to continue in-fighting given that
standard-bearer Ute Vogt shows few signs of leaving the political
scene. Greens are struggling to come to terms with their
divergent fortunes, having exited parliament in R-P versus a near
record showing in neighboring B-W.


8. (SBU) Representatives of all four major political parties
expressed relief on election night that, despite low voter
participation (below 60% in both states), the left-wing WASG
(Labor and Social Justice Party) and far-right Republikaner
remained weak, with minimal impact on election outcomes. END
COMMENT.

PASI