Search

 

Cablegate: Black-Green: Germany Searches for New Coalition Options

VZCZCXYZ0199
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #0617/01 0630853
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 030853Z MAR 08
FM SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC
TO RHMCSUU/DA AMHS WASHINGTON DC
FM AMCONSUL FRANKFURT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4918
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS FRANKFURT 000617

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/AGS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL GM
SUBJECT: BLACK-GREEN: GERMANY SEARCHES FOR NEW COALITION OPTIONS
FOLLOWING STATE ELECTIONS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED; NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION.

REF: HAMBURG 0007

1. SUMMARY. THE RECENT STATE ELECTIONS IN HAMBURG, LOWER SAXONY
AND HESSE HAVE SOLIDIFIED THE EMERGENCE OF THE LEFT PARTY AND
ESTABLISHED A FIVE-PARTY PRESENCE IN WESTERN GERMANY, FORCING
POLITICIANS TO CONSIDER NON-TRADITIONAL COALITION OPTIONS. THE CDU
AND GREENS ARE FOR THE FIRST TIME CONSIDERING FORMING A COALITION (A
SO-CALLED "BLACK-GREEN" COALITION) IN HAMBURG, WHICH COULD OPEN THE
DOOR FOR SUCH A POSSIBILITY AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL. BLACK-GREEN
COALITIONS HAVE GOVERNED SUCCESSFULLY AT THE MUNICIPAL LEVEL IN
GERMANY FOR SEVERAL YEARS. THIS CABLE EXAMINES SUCH COALITIONS IN
SOUTHWEST GERMANY, HIGHLIGHTING AREAS OF SUCCESSFUL BLACK-GREEN
COOPERATION ON FINANCIAL, CIVIC AND FAMILY ISSUES, AS WELL AS
UNRESOLVED DIFFERENCES IN AREAS SUCH AS THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY.
END SUMMARY.

-------------------------------------
FRANKFURT: LOWER TAXES, BUT NO RUNWAY
-------------------------------------

2. THE MOST PROMINENT EXAMPLE OF A GOVERNING COALITION BETWEEN THE
CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC UNION (CDU) AND THE GREEN PARTY AT THE
MUNICIPAL LEVEL IS IN GERMANY'S FINANCIAL CAPITAL, FRANKFURT. AFTER
THE MAY 2006 MUNICIPAL ELECTION, THE CDU-CENTRIST PETRA ROTH BECAME
LORD MAYOR IN THE SO-CALLED "COALITION OF REALISM" WITH THE GREEN
PARTY. GARNERING 15.6% OF THE VOTE, THE MODERATE FRANKFURT GREENS
FURTHER ESTABLISHED THEIR VOTER BASE IN AFFLUENT FRANKFURT AMONG
YOUNG PROFESSIONALS AND EDUCATED VOTERS AND DISTANCED THEIR PARTY
FROM ITS LEFTIST PAST. CONSIDERED MORE CENTRIST AND FISCALLY
CONSERVATIVE THAN THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (SPD), THE FRANKFURT
GREENS HAVE WORKED WITH THE CDU TO DECREASE CORPORATE TAXES TO
STIMULATE GROWTH AND FORM A CITIZENS' POLICE FORCE, AMONG OTHER
INITIATIVES.

3. FRANKFURT'S BLACK-GREEN COALITION HAS BEEN LESS SUCCESSFUL,
HOWEVER IN WORKING TOGETHER ON OTHER AREAS, SUCH AS ON THE ISSUE OF
AIRPORT ENLARGEMENT. TO PRESERVE THE COALITION, THE GREENS AND THE
CDU ABSTAINED ON THE ISSUE IN THE CITY COUNCIL BECAUSE OF A
DISAGREEMENT OVER THE ISSUES OF NIGHT FLIGHTS. OTHER PARTIES VOTED
TO TAKE THE STATE TO COURT OVER THE ISSUE, FORCING CDU FRANKFURT
LORD MAYOR PETRA ROTH IN TO THE AWKWARD SITUATION OF BRINGING SUIT
AGAINST A PLAN INITIATED BY THE CDU GOVERNMENT OF HESSE. WHILE THE
GREENS AND THE CDU IN FRANKFURT ARE BOTH PRO-BUSINESS AND
PRO-ENVIRONMENT, THE AIRPORT DISCUSSION REVEALS DIFFERING
PRIORITIES, WHICH COULD CARRY OVER TO SIMILAR ISSUES AT THE STATE
AND FEDERAL LEVELS.

4. AT THE STATE LEVEL IN HESSE, BLACK-GREEN COOPERATION HAS BEEN
STYMIED BY INTENSE ANIMOSITY BETWEEN CONSERVATIVE CDU MINISTER
PRESIDENT ROLAND KOCH AND MODERATE GREEN PARTY LEADER TAREK
AL-WAZIR. A SENIOR ADVISOR TO KOCH TOLD POLSPEC, HOWEVER, THAT HE
SEES MANY AREAS OF OVERLAP IN THE CONTENT OF BOTH PARTIES' PROGRAMS.
WHILE THE JANUARY 27 STATE ELECTION HAS YET TO PRODUCE A
GOVERNMENT, THE POSSIBILITY REMAINS THAT THE CDU WILL FORM A
GOVERNMENT WITH THE GREENS AND THE FREE DEMOCRATIC PARTY (FDP), IF
KOCH STEPS ASIDE. MANY PUNDITS POINT TO FRANKFURT LORD MAYOR ROTH,
A MODERATE CDU LEADER WITH A PROVEN HISTORY OF COOPERATION WITH THE
GREENS, AS A POTENTIAL MINISTER PRESIDENT IN THIS SCENARIO.

--------------------------------------------- -
BADEN-WUERTTEMBERG: MOVING TOWARDS BLACK-GREEN
--------------------------------------------- -

5. THE CONSERVATIVE SOUTHERN STATE OF BADEN-WUERTTEMBERG GAVE
GERMANY ITS FIRST GREEN LORD MAYOR IN 1996 IN THE CITY OF KONSTANZ.
THE STATE ALSO HAS GREEN LORDS MAYOR IN MAJOR TOWNS SUCH AS
FREIBURG, TUEBINGEN AND MUEHLACKER. WHILE BADEN-WUERTTEMBERG HAS NO
COALITION SYSTEM AT THE MUNICIPAL LEVEL, THE MODERATE GREEN LORDS
MAYOR WORK CLOSELY WITH THE CDU -- THE STATE'S DOMINANT PARTY -- IN
THE CITY COUNCILS. FOR EXAMPLE, FREIBURG'S LORD MAYOR DIETER
SALOMON HAS ALLIED HIMSELF WITH THE CDU IN HIS EFFORT TO BALANCE THE
BUDGET AND SELL OFF CITY-OWNED HOUSING. BOTH SALOMON AND HIS
TUEBINGEN COUNTERPART, BORIS PALMER, ARE KNOWN FOR THEIR PRAGMATIC,
MODERATE POLITICS, EARNING THEM THE RESPECT OF THE CDU AND THE
BUSINESS COMMUNITY. IN THE STATE CAPITAL OF STUTTGART, THE GREEN
MAYORAL CANDIDATE ACTUALLY WITHDREW FROM THE 2005 ELECTION CAMPAIGN
TO ENDORSE HIS CDU COMPETITOR, WOLFGANG SHUSTER.

6. AFTER THE LAST STATE ELECTION IN 2006, THE BADEN-WUERTTEMBERG
CDU MET TWICE WITH THE GREENS BEFORE SETTLING ON A COALITION WITH
ITS TRADITIONAL ALLY, THE FREE DEMOCRATIC PARTY (FDP). MINISTER
PRESIDENT GUENTHER OETTINGER STANDS AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE CDU ON
SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES, MAKING HIM AN APPEALING PARTNER FOR
THE GREENS. POLITICAL OBSERVERS ARE CONVINCED THAT A BLACK-GREEN
GOVERNMENT IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME IN THAT STATE. A BLACK-GREEN
COALITION AT THE STATE LEVEL, HOWEVER, WOULD FACE MORE COMPLEX
CHALLENGES THAN AT THE MUNICIPAL LEVEL, FOR EXAMPLE, THE
DECOMMISSIONING OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS. WHILE THE NATIONAL CDU IS

CURRENTLY MOVING FORWARD WITH DECOMMISSIONING AS PART OF ITS
COALITION AGREEMENT WITH THE SPD, STATE-LEVEL POLITICIANS, INCLUDING
OETTINGER, HAVE ARGUED THAT THIS POLICY MUST BE REVISITED IN ORDER
TO MEET GERMANY'S ENERGY NEEDS.

7. COMMENT. A BLACK-GREEN COALITION IN HAMBURG WOULD PROVIDE A
TESTING GROUND FOR WHAT MANY SEE AS A PROMISING COALITION OPTION AT
THE NATIONAL LEVEL IN 2009. WITH THE RISING POPULARITY OF THE LEFT
PARTY, THE TWO TRADITIONAL COALITION PARTNERSHIPS -- THE CDU WITH
THE FDP AND THE SPD WITH THE GREENS -- NO LONGER YIELD MAJORITIES.
THE EXPERIENCES IN HESSE AND BADEN-WUERTTEMBERG HIGHLIGHT AREAS
WHERE MODERATE CDU AND GREEN POLITICIANS HAVE WORKED TOGETHER WITH
SOME SUCCESS. COOPERATION AT A HIGHER LEVEL WILL REQUIRE BOTH SIDES
TO MOVE TO THE MIDDLE, BUT SERIOUS COMPROMISES WILL ALSO BE NEEDED
ON ISSUES SUCH AS ENERGY, FOREIGN POLICY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, WHERE
THE TWO PARTIES DO NOT ALWAYS SEE EYE TO EYE.

8. THIS CABLE HAS BEEN COORDINATED WITH EMBASSY BERLIN AND
CONSULATE GENERAL HAMBURG.
POWELL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: