The German federal elections will take place tomorrow, September 22nd, and had I been a German citizen I would have been as much at a loss as many of my friends who do partake in the process. If there is one thing which remains consistent regardless of the country I’m in and of my voting rights (or lack thereof) in it, it is the fact that I cannot think of a political party I could 100% calmly vote for. Germany is no different.
I do, however, immensely enjoy the campaigning. There are no limits to the amount of ridiculousness which politicians so graciously bestow on the prospected voters in the hopes of catching their attention. You may hate them, you may laugh at them, but at least you will have heard of them. And since you may not have heard of them, here’s a quick recapture of the main candidates before you’re laughing too hard to pay attention.
CDU (Christlich Demokratische Union) – The Christian Democratic Union. As you may have guessed from the name – conservative. Angela Merkel’s party. Currently in power, and looking at another term as the strongest party.
SPD (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands) – The German Social-Democratic Party. Second largest party in power, and will probably stay as such. Running with Peer Steinbrück as a chancellor candidate, but not likely to win.
FDP (Freie Demokratische Partei) – The Free Democratic Party. Goes also by the name The Liberals. By “liberals” they mean the classic, John Locke kind of liberals – personal freedoms and free markets. Basically, what the American Republican party could have been without the bible-bashers and the NRA. You may know them from their most prominent member – Germany’s openly gay Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle. A regular coalition partner for CDU.
Bündnis 90/Die Grünen – The Green Party. Currently under assault after a recent discovery that when the party started out certain streams within it were campaigning to legalize pedophilia. Regular opposition partner for SPD.
Die Linke – The Left. Socialist workers’ party. As communist as you can get while still remaining a democrat. Opposition partner for SPD and the Greens.
Piratenpartei – The Pirate Party. Surprised everyone in the previous elections by actually getting seats in the some of the Landtags (state senates). A relatively young party, whose biggest selling point was and is (as the name may suggest) internet freedom and the abolishment of patenting and copyrights. Considering Germany has what is probably one of the world’s most effective enforcement mechanisms for copyrights (a separate post on that issue to come), they’ll probably stay for another term.
AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) – An Alternative for Germany. A newcomer on the election scene, which is likely to get at least a couple of seats. Campaigns for Germany’s renouncement of the Euro and exit from the European Union. An after-effect of the Greece crisis, during which Germany paid millions of Euros to rescue Greece, failed to do so – and then remembered that it STILL owes them WWII money and that all those millions they just paid don’t count for that (and don’t ask why they didn’t start with just paying off their official debts).
For my first few days in Bonn I was couchsurfing with a really nice girl, who is interested in politics and has a television, so we ended up watching the debate between Angela Merkel and Peer Steinbrück. It was truly amazing how, considering we both had to work all day prior to the debate, the candidates managed to look just as tired as we were. How anyone can expect regular citizens to be interested in the campaign when even the people running for office seem bored with it, is truly a riddle.
Thank Heavens we have the election posters to keep us amused. So, for their last day of glory, let’s pay our respect to the ones that made us laugh the hardest (all photos by me, unless mentioned otherwise).
1. The Pirates knowing their audience
2. The Greens’ local campaign, giving you several reasons to believe they had a color-blind person in charge of the posters
3. The Green Youth performing a civil service for Alzheimer’s patients
4. The Greens going wild in Stuttgart
5. The Pirates trying the hipster/reversed psychologie approach
6. CDU making the Pirates look old-fashioned by actually creating a campaign meme
7. And this.