KLAUS WOWEREIT, a Social Democrat, was re-elected Berlin’s mayor yesterday, but the real story is what happened to two opposition parties.The assumption is that the vote showed a general disillusionment with politics and politicians, a problem we all know well. What will happen now that the Pirates are in a state parliament?
The liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), the junior partner in Angela Merkel’s coalition government at the national level, won a dismal 1.8% of the vote and disappeared from the city’s legislature. The Pirate Party, dedicated (awkwardly) to free information and rigid privacy protection, won nearly 9% and enters a German state parliament for the first time (Berlin is a city with the status of a state).
This is one of those what-does-it-all-mean moments. An established party like the FDP has the stuffing knocked out of it. Its place has been taken by a party that seems to have been dreamt up over a few beers (originally in Sweden). The Pirates’ top candidate, Andreas Baum, recently estimated Berlin’s debt at “many, many millions.” Technically that’s not wrong; the city owes €64 billion ($88 billion). But it was clear enough that he had no idea.
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