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Feb 21, 2013

Germany passes new election law to help small parties

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s parliament approved a new election law on Thursday that will help smaller political parties in September’s federal poll, when Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) are tipped to remain the strongest force.

Merkel’s party reluctantly had to draft new legislation after Germany’s constitutional court struck down the previous law, which had strengthened the CDU in the last federal election in 2009.

Jan 21, 2013

Center left ousts Merkel coalition in cliffhanger state vote

HANOVER (Reuters) – Germany’s center-left opposition edged Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives from power in a regional vote in Lower Saxony on Sunday, reviving its flagging hopes of defeating her in September’s national election.

The Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens won by a single seat after a close race for power in Germany’s fourth most populous state. Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) lost ground but their Free Democrat (FDP) allies defied forecasts that they would be ejected from the state assembly in Hanover.

Jan 20, 2013

Merkel coalition, centre left neck-and-neck in state vote – exit poll

HANOVER (Reuters) – Angela Merkel’s coalition and the centre-left opposition were level in exit polls in a state election on Sunday, which threatened to deprive the German chancellor of a boost for her bid to win a third term in office later this year.

In exit polls released after voting ended, Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) remained the biggest party in the swing state of Lower Saxony with 36 percent. The chief victors of the evening, however, appeared to be their Free Democrat (FDP) allies who defied doomsayers to win 10 percent.

Jan 19, 2013

Merkel’s CDU hoping for comeback win in key state vote

HANOVER (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats are hoping for victory in a state contest on Sunday that could end a long losing streak and set the tone for September’s federal election.

Citizens in the northern state of Lower Saxony will begin voting at 8 a.m. on Sunday (2 a.m. ET) in what has been a riveting battle between Merkel’s center-right coalition and the center-left Social Democrat-Greens opposition.

Jan 18, 2013

Merkel surfs popularity wave before key state vote

STADE, Germany, Jan 18 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela
Merkel doesn’t make rousing speeches, but she had 1,200
supporters wildly cheering her standard sober delivery, fired up
about their brightening chances of winning a key regional
election on Sunday.

At a campaign rally in the northern town of Stade late on
Thursday, Merkel and Lower Saxony state premier David McAllister
exhorted an enthusiastic crowd of Christian Democrats (CDU) to
ensure a high turnout for the election of the regional assembly,
which in turn chooses the state premier.

Jan 17, 2013

Gaffe-prone Merkel rival drags down centre-left as vote looms

OSTERHOLZ-SCHARMBECK, Germany (Reuters) – Peer Steinbrueck looked uncomfortable as he waited to go onstage at a small-town rally for a regional election on Sunday that could make or break his ambitions to be Germany’s next leader.

No one was talking to the Social Democrat (SPD) candidate for chancellor, whose blunders have sent his party into a tailspin in national opinion polls and could drag Stephan Weil, SPD candidate for state premier in Lower Saxony, to an unexpected defeat on Sunday.

Jan 10, 2013

German efficiency in doubt after airport debacle

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germans take pride in their engineering and organisational skills but their country’s reputation for efficiency has been exploded by a farcical series of delays in building Berlin’s new international airport.

Although the postponements in opening what is ostensibly a completed marvel of architecture have drawn the most attention, Germany’s stifling bureaucracy, red tape and planning rules have also blighted dozens more big projects.

Jan 7, 2013

Berlin airport delay damages mayor, embarrasses Germany

BERLIN, Jan 7 (Reuters) – Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit
stepped down on Monday as head of a board overseeing the
building of the city’s new international airport after yet
another delay in the project dealt a fresh blow to Germany’s
reputation for efficiency.

Wowereit, a focal point of criticism due to delays in
opening the 4.3-billion-euro ($5.6 billion) airport, bowed to
the pressure and gave up the supervisory board chair to
Brandenburg state Premier Matthias Platzeck. The airport is
jointly owned by Berlin, Brandenburg and the federal government.

Jan 7, 2013

Fifth Berlin airport delay embarrasses Germany, hurts mayor

BERLIN, Jan 7 (Reuters) – A fifth postponement of the
opening of Berlin’s new international airport has tarnished
Germany’s reputation for efficiency and threatens to ruin the
high-flying career of Berlin mayor’s Klaus Wowereit.

Already 20 years in the planning, Berlin’s new 4.3-billion
euro ($5.61 billion) Willy Brandt International Airport has had
to push back its opening from 2011 to June 2012, then to March
2013, then to October 2013 and now to 2014, a source familiar
with the plans told Reuters on Sunday.

Dec 30, 2012

Merkel challenger under fire for saying chancellor underpaid

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrueck was widely criticized on Sunday, even by his own center-left Social Democrats (SPD), for saying German leaders were underpaid.

Steinbrueck has struggled to gain ground against Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of next September’s election, in part due to lingering criticism over him earning 1.25 million euros ($1.65 million) as an after-dinner speaker in the past three years.

    • About Erik

      "Erik Kirschbaum is based in Berlin. He has been covering politics, economics, entertainment and sport in Germany since 1989 from Frankfurt, Bonn and Berlin. He also has worked for Reuters in Vienna. Previously, he also worked for newspapers in Connecticut, Wisconsin and Nevada. He has also written two books."
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