December 6, 2013
VIEW FROM THE EMBASSYMonday, September 23, 2013
Bundestag vote closely followed in Buenos Aires
The fluctuations of the Bundestag elections were followed with keen interest at the German Embassy in Argentina yesterday afternoon.
The triumph of Chancellor Angela Merkel was never in doubt (and nor was the debacle of her Free Democrat coalition partners with the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung despondently fearing the worst even before the results were announced) but there was suspense over whether her Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) could snatch an absolute majority.
The first exit poll showing the CDU/CSU two seats shy sparked lively speculation as to the form of the future coalition (especially with the new eurosceptic Alternative for Germany on the brink of representation).
An hour or so later the CDU/CSU was projected to have 302 seats or an overall majority of six (won by no single party since Konrad Adenauer in 1957), leaving an astounded audience to conclude that this was at least a clear result for Europe.
But at the end of the afternoon the CDU/CSU were back on 295-6 seats with the uncertainty as to the future coalition also returning.
Regaled with typical German dishes (including sauerkraut and a variety of sausages washed down with beer and wine), the afternoon included a panel of experts chaired by the Deutsche Welle correspondent here on these elections which have interested the outside world as never before.
Among some 150 people present were at least two deputies – Cornelia Schmidt-Liermann (PRO) and Patricia Bullrich (Union for Everybody). But despite anything you might read about European demography, the event had a distinctly youthful feel thanks to the presence of many of the 64 social volunteers working in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay under a development aid programme (most were disappointed with the election results).
Last and perhaps least, the Herald retained its 2009 championship from this event with its senior editor signing this article winning first prize for the most accurate election forecast.