Federal Republic of Germany – Bundestag Election

September 28, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

Congratulations! to the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and the FDP leader Guido Westerwelle on the re-election of CDU-CSU (Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union) in grand coalition with the Free Democratic Party in the 17th German Federal election on September 27, 2009.

As a major economic power and the largest exporter as well as the second largest importer of goods, Germany is significant to the global economy and the international progress. The export-oriented nation has been drastically affected from the global economic crisis. It experiences the common woes like the financial market failure leading to the government bailouts; massive job loss in the manufacturing sector especially the automobiles and heavy industrial equipments…having a ripple effect on other sectors in the economy.

However, Germany has contained the crisis from further deterioration due to the various government run programs viz.

The comprehensive system of social security, universal health care established in 1883 – now comprising 77% government funded and 23% privately funded health care system, public or affordable housing in suburban settings providing decent dwelling for the lower income originally created in the early twentieth century by the Social Democrats to curtail visible poverty.

The recent victory by the conservative coalition attributed to the poor voter turnout with the sizable electorate not having confidence in the major or minor political parties, although the ‘Green’ party focused on vigorous environmental policies gained impressive margin against others.

It would be interesting to monitor the measures adopted by the winning coalition in the economic recovery, given the FDP’s economic policy subscribed to the government involvement ‘as extensive as necessary’ and ‘as limited as possible.’ Otherwise, the party embraces the free market structure with privatizations, deregulations, restraining public subsidies – the predominant source of the present global economic meltdown, while maintaining the strong unionized work force and the vast government social infrastructure. Perhaps, the platform contributed to the surprise emergence of the once minority party successfully eliminating the Socialist Democrats that took a severe blow in the latest election.

With the rising unemployment causing much frustration among the population, the coalition has a tough balancing act to leverage the situation in the four-year term offered by the German electorate as a second chance to transform the campaign promise into a reality.

Regarding other issues of national concern, the electorate appears to be less enthusiastic in their country’s involvement as a NATO member in the eight-year old Afghanistan war. This is despite the relatively minimal troops’ presence in the region proving the unpopularity of the Afghanistan war.

Germany like the rest of the world is confronted with the economic, social and environmental issues and the industrialized nation’s rapid revival is crucial for the global economy as a member of OECD, G8 that is appropriately the present G20, besides being the biggest development aid in the world.

I take the opportunity to wish the leaderships and the people of Germany lasting peace and prosperity to share with the rest of the humanity.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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