Global News Journal

German election live blog

September 25, 2009

Welcome to the live blog of the German election, a showdown between Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (left) and Chancellor Angela Merkel (right). More than 50 Reuters correspondents, photographers and television crews in Berlin and across Germany will be tracking the story throughout the weekend.

Flashmobs target Merkel at final election rallies

September 24, 2009

Getting pelted by eggs or tomatoes is an occupational hazard for most hardened politicians on the election trail.******But German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seeking re-election on Sunday, has been confronted with a new kind of protest during her final campaign rallies: flashmobs.******The mobs, groups of people summoned over the Internet to show up at a specific time and place to do something unusual, have materialised at several election events in the last week to wave flags and banners and heckle the unsuspecting Merkel.******Mostly, they have been chanting “Yeahhhh!” after every sentence she utters and the slogan is meant as an ironic expression of support.******It may not sound like the most damaging critique, but Merkel has cottoned on to the flashmobs and now even addresses them at the rallies as “My young friends from the Internet”.******So is this a new form of political protest or just a bit of fun?******Blogger Rene Walter, who writes for nerdcore, says there is a serious idea behind the light-hearted gatherings.******”We are not just going to swallow the election messages, we are spitting back the rubbish Merkel speaks in the ironic form of a “Yeahhh!”, he says in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily.******Many involved in the flashmobs support the Pirate Party, who are popular among young voters and oppose what they say is censorship of the Internet that has been brought in under Merkel’s government.******One thing is for sure. Flashmobs are injecting some much-needed spontaneity into the final days of a campaign which many voters think has been the most turgid in decades.******But are flashmobs here to stay? Could they become the political protest movement of the Internet age?

A reminder that Greece was not always democratic

September 24, 2009

Visitors to Greece’s capital these days cannot escape the fact that a general election is on he way.  But it is not just the constant discussion on television and the excited newspaper headlines about a U.S.-style debate between front runners that lets you know.

Germany’s Greens trade in woolly sweaters for business suits

September 11, 2009

Having traded in their woolly sweaters, jeans and sandals for dapper suits and shiny shoes, Germany’s Greens are ready for business, claiming that to be the “party that truly knows its economics”.

What the election campaign says about Germans

September 8, 2009

Strikingly different election campaign styles in Germany and Britain, especially parties’ contrasting use of the media, provide some intriguing insights into the political traditions of the two nations.

German state elections: Live

August 30, 2009

10 p.m. - So it’s a black eye for Merkel and her conservative party four weeks before the federal election with the likely loss of power in two of three states that went to the polls on Sunday. But will it make a difference for the federal election on Sept. 27? Will Steinmeier’s SPD, now in the driver’s seat to win state offices from the CDU for the first time since 2001, be able to take advantage of the momentum? Will the CDU start to get nervous again after squandering big leads in last month of the 2002 and 2005 federal elections? September could be an exciting month in Germany.

from Raw Japan:

Japan two-party system — long in arriving

August 28, 2009

Observers of Japanese politics who have long thought the country was ripe for a real two-party system are watching Sunday's election with a dual sense of incredulity -- surprise that it has taken so long to oust the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and surprise that it finally looks like happening.

from Raw Japan:

No Obama moment in Japan

August 28, 2009

Opinion polls show the opposition Democratic Party of Japan is set for a runaway victory in Sunday's general election, but voters are showing none of the enthusiasm that swept Barack Obama to the U.S. presidency last year.

Merkel softens up and talks baking, makeup and clothes

August 26, 2009

Between running an election campaign and trying to save European carmaker Opel at the weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was baking a currant cake and writing out a shopping list for her husband.

Athenians lament Attica forest destruction

August 24, 2009

Dark smoke covered the Athens sky over the weekend, its thick plumes rising over the Acropolis and rekindling memories of the huge, deadly fires of 2007 that nearly cost Greece’s ruling conservatives their re-election.