Search

 

Cablegate: Best Laid Plans: Schleswig-Holstein's Cdu and Spd In

VZCZCXRO4561
RR RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAG #1193/01 2681416
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251416Z SEP 09
FM AMCONSUL HAMBURG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5312
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HAMBURG 001193

State for EUR/AGS
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM GM
SUBJECT: Best Laid Plans: Schleswig-Holstein's CDU and SPD in
Surprisingly Close Race

REF: HAMBURG 23

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED -- NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION

1. (SBU): SUMMARY: The July collapse of the Schleswig-Holstein
Grand Coalition (reftel) brought on by the CDU may not bring about
the desired CDU-FDP coalition result for which the CDU has hoped.
Early state elections will take place on September 27, the same day
as national elections, which may boost overall voter turnout. As a
result of this acrimonious breakup and general bad blood in the
Grand Coalition, SPD leader Ralf Stegner initially appeared to have
lost significant personal support, as well as support for the party.
His recent "charm offensive," however, seems to have somewhat
reversed this trend. Two separate polls show the SPD running a very
close second to the CDU. While the ultimate outcome is uncertain, a
renewed Grand Coalition is very unlikely. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------- ----------------------------
--------------------------------------
Polling Results Suggest Neck-and-Neck Race: CDU/FDP Majority in
Jeopardy
-------------------------- ----------------------------
----------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Emboldened by polls that showed his party could form a
coalition with the Free Democrats back in July, and following a
series of confrontations with the SPD, CDU Minister-President Peter
Harry Carstensen prompted the collapse of his state's Grand
Coalition (reftel). Since then, however, this majority has
narrowed. The most recent ZDF Politbarometer opinion poll projected
the CDU winning 32 percent of the vote in S-H, the SPD 27 percent,
the FDP 14 percent, the Greens 12 percent, The Left 7 percent, and
the SSW (South-Schleswig Voter Association) 4 percent. With 44
percent preferring Carstensen as M-P, he is clearly ahead of SPD
candidate Ralf Stegner (28 percent). This same poll, however, shows
that 42 percent of the electorate has not yet decided how it will
vote. Past state elections have shown that massive mobilization
efforts in the last week prior to the elections can substantially
alter the final result.

3. (SBU) Another current opinion poll, this one from from
Infratest Dimap, reflected the following results: CDU 33 percent,
SPD 25 percent, FDP 14 percent, Greens 13 percent, The Left 6
percent, and the SSW 5 percent. Although the CDU and FDP combined
vote is actually two points lower than the other parties' combined
vote, the CDU/FDP partnership could still claim the mandate due to
the method of calculation for seats in the S-H parliament (reftel).
Ironically, 43 percent of the respondents in this poll said they
would prefer an SPD-led government. Carstensen, however, is still
seen as the more credible and competent candidate (except for the
area of social justice) whose leadership skills trump Stegner's.

------------------ -----------------------------------------
Stegner's Charm Offensive Somewhat Successful
-------------------------- ---------------------------------

4. (SBU) Stegner's greatest handicap is his negative image. Not
only do his political rivals in the CDU view him as a complainer,
egotist and know-it-all, but that sentiment is largely shared among
the electorate as a whole. Following the collapse of the CDU/SPD
coalition in July, Stegner launched a charm offensive that has him
relentlessly campaigning around the clock in a "red bus" tour all
over S-H. A narrowing personal popularity gap indicates that his
efforts have had some success.

5. (SBU) Meanwhile, the CDU-SPD contest in S-H has become nastier
on a personal level. The Handelsblatt and Badische Zeitung quoted
Stegner referring to Carstensen as a "fat, round, nothing."
Similarly, M-P Carstensen has called Stegner a "pain in the ass"
(Kotzbrocken). The frontrunners faced each other in an NDR TV duel
on September 23; although there was no clear winner, the debate was
much more confrontational than the September 13 Merkel/Steinmeier
encounter.

--------------------------- -------------------------------
CDU Will Most Likely Pick Coalition Partner(s)
-------------- --------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) If the predicted CDU/FDP coalition does not materialize, a
third partner could be enlisted, and either a "Jamaica" coalition
(CDU, FDP, Greens) or CDU/FDP/SSW coalition would result. Since the
S-H FDP, as opposed to the federal FDP, favors a continued phase-out
of nuclear energy, it would make it much easier for the Greens to
join a coalition with the CDU and FDP on a state level. Another
factor in favor of a CDU/FDP/Greens coalition is Carstensen's claim
of a "very good" relationship with Chairman of the S-H Greens Robert
Habeck.

7. (SBU) Carstensen definitively ruled out a grand coalition with

HAMBURG 00001193 002 OF 002


an SPD led by Stegner. The S-H FDP similarly rejects an SPD,
Greens, FDP coalition ("Traffic Coalition") under Stegner's
polarizing leadership. A leftist coalition of the SPD, Greens and
SSW does not currently have a majority, and The Left itself has
ruled out any participation in government.

--------------
COMMENT
--------------

8. (SBU) Although Stegner's charm offensive seems to have had some
success, a solid majority still favors Carstensen. Personalities,
particularly Stegner's, play the greatest role in the campaign and
coalition calculations in S-H. With the poll numbers running so
close, it's too early to predict with certainty the ultimate
outcome. While a CDU/FDP governing coalition appears most likely,
strong voter turnout could swing the outcome in another direction.
If -- and only if -- all elements align in favor of the SPD (if the
Left chooses to participate in the government, if the Greens
repudiate the CDU/Greens coalition, if the SSW chooses to align with
the SPD and agrees to enter or tolerate a SPD/Greens/Left
coalition), then the SPD could theoretically gain enough votes to
form a coalition that leaves the CDU out in the cold. END COMMENT.


9. (SBU) This cable has been coordinated with Embassy Berlin.

JOHNSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

IPPPR: The Independent Panel Calls For Urgent Reform Of Pandemic Prevention And Response Systems

Expert independent panel calls for urgent reform of pandemic prevention and response systems The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response is today calling on the global community to end the COVID-19 pandemic and adopt a series of bold and ... More>>

NGO Coalition On Human Rights: Call For A Stop To Police Brutality In Fiji

A viral video has circulated online showing two police officers utilising disproportionate and excessive force in detaining the suspect, an individual half their size. In the video it shows the man’s head being pressed down on the ground, his arms being ... More>>

UN: India’s New COVID-19 Wave Is Spreading Like ‘Wildfire’, Warns UN Children’s Fund

7 May 2021 A new wave of COVID-19 infections is spreading like “wildfire” across India, leaving many youngsters destitute, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Friday. In the last 24 hours, India registered 3,915 coronavirus deaths and 414,188 ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: Economic Recovery Under Threat Amid Surging COVID Cases And Lagging Vaccination In Poorer Countries

New York, 11 May — While the global growth outlook has improved, led by robust rebound in China and the United States, surging COVID-19 infections and inadequate vaccination progress in many countries threaten a broad-based recovery of the world ... More>>

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>