Guten Tag, Contrarians. It’s your friendly Teutonic Correspondent Nicholas here with another report from the Fatherland.
Last time we spoke, I offered a look at the inner workings of the German electoral process. Now, I’m able to report on outcomes.
Bolstered by an apathetic voter turnout rate of 36.1 percent, the German federal elections, held on 27 September, yielded a disappointingly status quo result. Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) took 33.8 percent of the vote and was able to successfully construct a ruling coalition with the centrist Free Democratic Party (FDP). The political left was unable to make many gains, due to a splintering of the three major liberal parties — the Greens, the Social Democrats and the appropriately named Left.
The general election did not signal the end of the political season in Germany, as the following Saturday, October 3, was a significant day for the land — both on a national and continental level. The 3rd of October is the Tag der Deutsche Einheit, or “day of German unity” and celebrates the re-unification of the German state.
October the 3rd also saw the eyes of Europe focused on Ireland, where that nation voted on a referendum to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. The Lisbon Treaty stands as a replacement to the original founding document of the European Union, the European Constitution, and represents an extension of the EU human rights charter, as well as a providing a democratic legitimacy to the Union as a whole.
The Irish vote was a second such attempt at referendum, following the three percent shortfall of the previous vote in 2008. Despite fear-mongering by embarrassing isolationist Irish conservatives, last week’s vote came down 67 to 33 percent, decidedly in favor of a ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. The Irish electorate’s decision makes them the 25th of the 27 EU member states to endorse the Treaty.
Although the Union is an organization founded on democracy, the Treaty must be ratified by all member states for it to take effect. Whilst Ireland’s decision marks a major step forward for Irish domestic and continental politics, the EU waits with baited breath for the Polish and Czech states to sign-in and join modern political Europe.
Meanwhile in America, Texas’s governor talks of secession. Ain’t politics grand?