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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
10FRANKFURT100
2010-01-11 08:48:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Consulate Frankfurt
Cable title:  

Baden-Wuerttemberg's Younger Political Leadership Sets New

Tags:   PGOV  GM 
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INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 FRANKFURT 000100 

SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV GM
SUBJECT: Baden-Wuerttemberg's Younger Political Leadership Sets New
Dynamic

Sensitive but unclassified; not for internet distribution

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 FRANKFURT 000100

SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV GM
SUBJECT: Baden-Wuerttemberg's Younger Political Leadership Sets New
Dynamic

Sensitive but unclassified; not for internet distribution


1. (SBU) Summary: Baden-Wuerttemberg's four primary political
parties have all in the last six months elected new and younger
party leaders, setting in motion new political dynamics in the
state. The trend began in June of 2009 when the FDP surprisingly
chose Hans-Ulrich Ruelke (48) as caucus chief. Following the
September 27 national elections, the Social Democratic Party (SPD)
and the Green party also turned their leadership over to younger
politicians, while the new, younger CDU head rose to power following
the nomination of Minister-President Oettinger to the EU Commission.
These new political leaders will guide the parties into the 2011
Baden-Wuerttemberg state election, with campaigns beginning this
year. While all ramifications are not yet clear, the CDU will
likely turn more conservative and become more closely aligned with
the FDP, with whom it has already governed Baden-Wuerttemberg for 13
years, while the Greens and SPD may move more to the left to attract
voters. END SUMMARY


CDU Likely Will Become more Conservative With Mappus
-------------- --------------


2. (SBU) Stefan Mappus (43), whom B-W CDU members already elected
as the new CDU state chair and lead candidate for the 2011 state
election with 90 percent of the vote, is set to become
Baden-Wuerttemberg's next Minister-President later this month when
M-P Oettinger leaves office. Oettinger and Mappus differ both in
their political perspectives, centrist vs. conservative, and in
their personalities, consensus-oriented vs. direct/confrontational.
Mappus earned his conservative reputation by identifying with the
small-town CDU base in Baden-Wuerttemberg, due to his allegiance to
traditional family and religious values, and his public objections
to Oettinger's coalition discussions with the Green party. Since
becoming M-P designate, Mappus has said that the CDU should return
to their roots as a "Volkspartei." Although he has said that he
plans to continue some of Oettinger's "social" programs, such as the
expansion of day-care programs, he has also publicly said that he
wants to reintroduce conservative ideas into the political debate.
With regard to personal style, Hans-Georg Koch, chief of the policy

section in the B-W state chancellery, described Mappus as a
"go-getter" and Olaf Bentlage, former FDP General Manager for B-W,
praised Mappus's "clear, direct leadership style."


FDP Kicks Off Generational Change
--------------


3. (SBU) The B-W FDP kicked off the wave of political change in
June 2009 when FDP members surprisingly dropped long-time incumbent
Ulrich Noll (63) and installed Ruelke as the new caucus chief.
Continued discontent with the leadership style of Noll, who many
found to be authoritarian and occasionally confrontational, brought
on the change. Ruelke is known to be a close personal friend of
designated M-P Mappus. They both come from Pforzheim. Ruelke and
Mappus have already demonstrated their close relationship by jointly
requesting further tax cuts -- openly opposing departing M-P
Oettinger on this issue. According to Heiderose Berroth, FDP state
parliament member, had Ruelke not become caucus chief, the future
alliance between the CDU and FDP would have suffered as Mappus and
former FDP chief Noll "hated each other." Another high level B-W
FDP source told Poloff and Polspec that FDP state party chair and
Bundestag floor leader Birgit Homburger (44) is also close with
Mappus and has already worked with him around Oettinger, such as in
pressing for the recent ousting of the LBBW chair, Jaschinski. A
more conservative CDU, our source explained, will also benefit the
FDP as it will yield the center back to the Liberals, giving them a
strong position for the 2011 election.


New SPD Leader Faces Tough Job Ahead
--------------


4. (SBU) The new SPD leader, Nils Schmid, took over the
Baden-Wuerttemberg party on November 21 after winning an internal
party referendum of the SPD's rank and file. Schmid is 36 years old
and has served in the State Parliament since the age of 23, being
one of the youngest representatives ever. Schmid's election
reflected the SPD's desire for new blood and a regeneration
following the disastrous national election when the B-W SPD won only
19.3% of the vote, within one percentage point of the B-W FDP's
returns. Schmid faces the difficult task of reviving his
demoralized party. Despite his youth, he is an experienced
politician, the financial expert of the state party and an outspoken
supporter of Agenda 2010. Schmid hopes to increase the
attractiveness of the B-W SPD by including the rank and file in the
future decision-making process, something that the SPD's new
national chair, Sigmar Gabriel, has also stressed. He is married to

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a German of Turkish decent and also wants to attract more immigrant
voters to the SPD.


Greens Chose Young Team
--------------


5. (SBU) At their November 21 annual state convention in Biberach,
the B-W Greens also elected a new leadership team. Chris Kuehn (30)
represents the party's left wing while Silke Krebs (43) stands for
the pragmatic part of the Greens. The B-W Greens did well in the
last federal election earning 13.9% percent of the vote, which was
the highest amount ever in the state. However, the Greens still
fell behind the FDP and new team leaders Krebs and Kuehn now face
the challenge of increasing the party's visibility and standing up
to a very confident B-W FDP. Furthermore, with conservative
Mappus's election as B-W Minister-president designate, Greens'
prospects for participation in a 2011 government are minimal.
Although M-P Oettinger once held coalition discussions with the
Greens, Mappus opposes this option. The new Greens party leaders
have similarly stated that they will not work with him. The
impossibility of a CDU-Greens coalition may lead to a strengthening
of left-wing positions within the Greens and is a set-back for
Greens politicians who had openly argued that the Greens should keep
the door open for cooperating with the CDU.


6. (SBU) COMMENT: A new and younger generation of politicians has
taken charge in Baden-Wuerttemberg and is setting out to shape the
future of the state. Under designated M-P Mappus, the tone will get
tougher and more conservative. Under FDP chief Ruelke's leadership,
the coalition between the CDU and FDP looks ready to continue and
even grow closer. This might be a chance for the battered B-W SPD
to set itself apart from a Conservative/Liberal coalition and help
to motivate the SPD's rank and file. A more conservative CDU might
also help to bring Greens and SPD in the southwest, who have been
more rivals than allies, closer together again. END COMMENT.


ALFORD