Thursday, March 3, 2016

Nothing like some crystal meth to mix up a boring German election

The upcoming state elections in three of Germany's sixteen states have been pretty boring despite the dust-up over the initial refusal by established parties to face representatives of the new right populist AfD in TV election debates.

The deeper cultural and philosophical question whether Germans like their election campaigns boring has an easy answer: No.
How else would one explain the wall to wall coverage of the U.S. presidential primaries? Carson, Fiorina, and other long forgotten candidates were given front page space over here, and the Trump and anti-Trump frenzy is providing job enrichment galore for German media professionals.

There is some possibility that Germans like their own campaigns calmer than Americans, more like Canadians, if you will.

Still, when a politician says something incendiary, he or she gets attention, so the overall boring nature of German elections might well make a good subject for an "EasyPhD - German style". 

Yesterday, though, the lackluster campaign got a wake up jolt in the form of some good old crystal meth. A whooping 0.6 gram of the devil's drug was found on one of the top leaders of Germany's Green party.

Media initially reported this happened "during a police stop" in Berlin, a statement that raises more questions. Today, the circumstances became known: the politician was stopped and frisked as he left the residence of a drug dealer who was under surveillance.
That still doesn't answer all questions but is good enough for the time being.

The Green party has provided the prime minister in the southern powerhouse state of Baden-Wuerttemberg for the last four years, in a coalition with the social democratic SPD, and was poised to overtake the conservative CDU in the elections in less than two weeks.

The prospect of the Green party getting over 30% of the vote and overtaking the CDU in an election in any of traditionally conservative states is historic. The prime minister has shown a measured, rather traditionalist approach to governing, and his style has been compared to Chancellor's moderate way of doing business.

The meth find, with its attached stigma, has brought swift condemnation by the leadership of the Greens, and the offender resigned from all party functions within hours of the news becoming public.

It remains to be seen if the German version of the drug war will cost the Baden-Wuerrtemberg Greens a sweet victory.

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