Kai Arzheimer: Media

I regularly comment on German and European politics and on political extremism

Mar 282017
 

Over at Diário de Notícias, Jose Fialho Gouveia has published another article on Germany, Schulz, and all that jazz, once more with a couple of my cents added. By the way, don’t you just love the imagery of beer jug hefting German politicians?

Alemanha - Merkel perde tapete vermelho e Schulz pode mesmo ganhar
DN DN

If you’re interested, here is the English transcript of our chat.

“We are six months away from the elections in Germany. Can Schulz really win?”

At the moment, the SPD and the CDU/CSU block are neck-on-neck. But six months away from the election, many voters are undecided or may change their mind further down the road. Historically, the SPD has only twice surpassed the Christian Democrats (in 1972 and 1998). So it is possible that SPD gets more votes than the CDU/CSU combined, but I would not bet on it. At the end of the day, the more relevant question is who will be able to form a winning coalition in parliament.

“Could it be possible a great coalition between the SPD and the CDU with the SPD as the bigger party”

If the SPD actually gets more votes than the Christian Democrats, that is entirely possible.

“The economy is doing fine, the SPD is pro-EU and also pro-refuges, so how can Schulz attack Merkel?”

In a sense, Schulz is attacking the previous (post 2002) reform policies of his own party. He also tries to benefit from the fact that Merkel has been in office for a long time, and that some voters are tired of her (not so much of her policies).

“Which one o you think will be the main issues during the campaign?”

Schulz and the SPD are focusing heavily on “justice”, in particular “social justice”. He is also attacking right-wing populism. Whether this will be enough to propel them through a six-month-long campaign is a different question.

Mar 062017
 

I had another chat with Jose Fialho Gouveia that contributed to an article on the possible restarting of the French-German integration motor. Here is the article (in Portuguese).

Feb 082017
 

Does the European Radical Right present a united front vis-a-vis the European Union, and is there a Trump effect that could further the cause of the Radical Right in Europe? I don’t think so (and here is an automated English translation).

Jan 272017
 

With the upcoming (well, sort of) election and the shenanigans in the SPD, the world is watching Germany. The other day, I was interviewed by a journalist working for Diário de Notícias.

Just like the next guy, I love the sound of Portuguese, but I don’t understand any more than the odd word that comes my way. If you are like me, you might be interested in the transcript that I authorised:

  • Is Schulz a stronger candidate than Gabriel?

Yes, insofar as he is currently more popular in the polls. If that translates into a real advantage remains to be seen.

  • What are his strongest and weakest points?

Unlike Gabriel, he has not been Merkel’s deputy for the last four years and so may appear more credible when he attacks her during the campaign. On the other hand, he has not held public office in Germany (apart from his spell in local politics that ended some two decades ago), and the CDU/CSU and the FDP will portray him as a lefty who is in favour of eurobonds and a lenient approach to the Eurocrisis.

  • Could this hurt Merkel’s ambitions of a fourth term?

I don’t think that the Schulz will lure many voters away from the CDU, but he might be more able than Gabriel to mobilise some reluctant SPD supporters.

  • Do you see a possible a wining coalition between SPD, Linke and Greens?

There is still a lot of bad blood between the SPD and the Left, and the Left is hugely unpopular with West German voters. Also, the Left is far away from the other two parties with respect to foreign policies, and the Greens have just endorsed a Spitzenkandidatenteam that appeals to the eco-conservatives. For these (and other) reasons, politicians of all three parties are reluctant about such a coalition, to say the least. Also, on current polling a red-red-green coalition is infeasible by a considerable margin.

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Jan 192017
 

Before Christmas, I had yet another chat with the journalist Yardena Schwartz, who covers Germany for various outlets in the US. Parts of our conversation re-surface in a piece she wrote for Politico on Germany’s Far Right:

She also published an article on how the Far Right tries to capitalise from the Berlin Christmas Market attack, again with a little bit of input from yours truly.

Dec 212016
 

I recently had a lengthy chat with Yardena Schwartz on the AfD’s significance for German politics, and their likely trajectory. One thing that came out of it is a CJR article on the (mis?)representation of the AfD and their voters in the German media. I don’t agree with everything she writes, but it is certainly an interesting read.