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Cablegate: Germany/Bavaria: The Bavarian Spd Appears Oblivious To

VZCZCXRO2688
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHYG
DE RUEHMZ #0358 3091256
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041256Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL MUNICH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4550
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEU/EU INTEREST COLLECTIVE
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MUNICH 000358

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV GM
SUBJECT: GERMANY/BAVARIA: THE BAVARIAN SPD APPEARS OBLIVIOUS TO
THEIR OWN DEFEAT

1. (SBU) The Bavarian and national Social Democratic Party's (SPD)
open gloating over the blow to the Christian Social Union (CSU) in
the recent Bavarian elections belied their own sorry state of
affairs: the SPD had its worst showing there since WWII. With such
a weak showing in that state -- and the problems it now faces in
Hesse (see septel) -- there is little to indicate that the SPD's
September leadership change has yet benefited the party as it gears
up for Presidential, European Parliament, and Bundestag elections in
2009. Deep-felt voter frustrations about Bavarian CSU politics
should have been water on the mill of the major opposition party
here, but instead, the SPD came in with just 18.6 percent of the
vote, winning just a few percentage points more than the Greens and
the Independents. One cannot even attribute the SPD's dried up
support to defections in favor of the Left Party; unlike in other
German states, the Left Party did not make it into the Bavarian
parliament.

2. (SBU) News analysis and continued party hand-wringing after the
disastrous CSU showing have diverted attention from the fact that
the opposition leader in Bavaria, the SPD, failed to profit from the
CSU's historic decline. While on election eve the faces of CSU
leaders showed all shades of despair and consternation, local SPD
leaders were beaming with malicious joy. Political observers in
Bavaria are now convinced that the SPD just does not get it. On
October 28, the day when the CSU and Free Democratic Party (FDP)
were trumpeting their successful coalition negotiations, political
observers in Munich rubbed their eyes in disbelief when Bavarian SPD
chairman Ludwig Stiegler appeared on TV to analyze the current CSU
"plight." And what about analysis of how the SPD came out with this
all-time low? CSU leaders Beckstein and Huber fell on their swords
in defeat, but no SPD politician has resigned over their bad
showing. In fact, the SPD's Landtag caucus leader Franz Maget has
been confirmed in his office with 92 percent of the vote, and the
Landtag caucus renominated Peter Paul Gantzer, who will turn 70 in
November, deputy Landtag President. This is not a sign that the
party sees the need for change at the top.

3. (SBU) What's more, undercutting its own few successes seems to
be vintage SPD procedure in Bavaria. It is a mystery why 49-year
old Axel Berg from Munich, the only SPD Bundestag deputy to directly
win a constituency in Bavaria in 2005, was not afforded a safe slot
when the SPD put its party list together for the 2009 Bundestag
election.

4. (U) This report has been coordinated with Embassy Berlin.

5. (U) Follow Munich reporting at
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Germ any.

NELSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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