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2005-09-18

Live-Blogging: German Elefants 

An old tradition in German election TV programming is the "Elefant Round", a discussion which has started just now (20:15) on German TV, which brings together the leaders of all parties: Merkel/CDU, Schröder/SPD, Stoiber/CSU, Fischer/Greens, Westerwelle/FDP, Bisky/Left Party. I'm blogging this live:

20:15 Merkel denies having lost the elections - "Schröder has lost more". Declares no preference for either the "grand" (CDU/CSU/SPD) or the "Jamaica" (CDU/CSU/Greens/FDP) coalition.

20:18 Schröder attacks the TV-journalists for bias, is extremely aggressive for several minutes. Claims his decision to head for the polls was right - is leading an emotional campaign here for the hearts of his voters.

20:21 Westerwelle expresses astonishment over Schröder's behaviour - no, the FDP will not support Schröder as chancellor of a "traffic light" coalition (SPD/FDP/Greens). "There will be no traffic light coalition with the FDP - Dream on, not with us"

20:25 Stoiber (has lost 8% in Bavaria where his CSU runs instead of the CDU, now at 50%. Falls from 3rd to 6th place in the federal parliament) - CSU is still far ahead of CDU. Merkel has the task to search for government - Stoiber's support for Merkel is minimal, mere politeness. Merkel's position seems to be in jeopardy.

20:30 Stoiber doesn't exclude "Jamaica", what about Fischer of the Greens? He does not rule it out either. "I do not want to speculate" - this is a (rather surprising) green light for this constellation, but "I cannot imagine it... realism speaks against it"

20:35 Bisky/Left Party: 4.7% in the West is a great result, there will be no fights between the Western WASG and Eastern PDS arms.

20:36 How will Schröder be able to govern, if he excludes a grand coalition, the FDP exludes him, and the Left Party remains untouchable? Schröder: Everybody will talk. The SPD will not accept Merkel as chancellor (Wow. Is he drunk?)

20:38 Westerwelle: Schröder's behaviour is not to be taken seriously. Westerwelle too thinks that Schröder is on drugs...

20:40 Merkel is sad about what Schröder just said about her. She wants to be chancellor. Schröder, she says, fails to grasp that he has lost his government.

20:42 Stoiber: Schröder's arrogance is not ok. Is telling Schröder to behave better.

20:50 (technical troubles over here). Merkel accepts that if SPD ends up in front, she would be ready to talk about a chancellor Schröder. Westerwelle and Fischer express themselves ready for opposition.

20:55 Question to Schröder: He has moved to the left during the campaign. How will he manage to move to the right again for a centrist coalition? Schröder denies the left shift. The discussion seems to be running out of steam.

Schröder wants to be chancellor of a CDU/SPD coalition.

20:58 Merkel plays reason against Schröder's ferocity, and it's over.

To sum up: "Jamaica" is surprisingly alive, Schröder needs to sleep over the whole thing, all SPD+FDP constellations seem like a no-no. The two new projections after the discussion show the difference between CDU/CSU and SPD reduced to 1.1% (ARD) and 0.8% (ZDF). ARD says there is a real possibility for equal numbers of seats - that would vindicate Schröder's tactics in the elefant round. Also: the SPD is ahead in all northern regions, the CDU/CSU only in the south.


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