• Facebook
  • Facebook
  • Facebook
  • Facebook

Search This Blog

Visit our new website.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Merkel's necklace aside, who won yesterday's German election debate?

Some 17 million Germans – and, we dare to say, a record number of keen international analysts - tuned in yesterday to watch the first and last televised debate between Angela Merkel and SPD contender Peer Steinbrück, ahead of the country’s elections on 22 September.

The debate only briefly touched on the Eurozone crisis and EU policy, with Steinbrück criticising Merkel’s policy over Greece in particular. Though some Anglo-Saxon commentators have written this up as the SPD candidate “criticising austerity” , in fact, he was more criticising the pace of austerity and its balance with more 'growth orientated' policies – not austerity itself.

As we've argued before, you just don’t criticise Sparpolitik in Germany – next to plagiarism, this is the best way to end a mainstream political career. Steinbrück did, however, criticise the pace and scale of Merkel’s austerity policies, again repeating his calls for an as yet very vague new “Marshal Plan” for Europe. “There must be budget consolidation”, he said, but must not be “a deadly dose”. Merkel hit back, saying that if, as Steinbrück claims, the need for a third Greek bailout is a sign of her Eurozone policies failing, why did he and his party vote in favour of all the bailouts so far?

So who won the debate?

The view in the German media and commentariat seems to be pretty unanimous that though the debate itself was pretty much a draw, it involved a bit of a boost for Steinbrück – which wasn't entirely unexpected, given that the man started from an exceptionally low base.
Snap post-debate polls also suggested a draw, with one putting Steinbrück in the lead (49% to 44%), and two others putting Merkel ahead (40% to 33% and 44% to 43% respectively). A fourth poll put both candidates on 50%.

However, Steinbrück did see a boost to his head-to-head ratings. An ARD poll (see below) has a massive swing in favour of Steinbrück on the question: who would you vote for if the Chancellor could be elected directly?

AnFG Wahlen poll for ZDF shows a much smaller swing for Steinbruck – but still a clear swing.

However, the real winner of the debate, according to many, was Merkel's fetching patriotic necklace, which has now has its own twitter account with over 6,000 followers.


Rik said...

The polls the count the most (election)didnot change simply a non issue this debate.
As basically expected as Steinbruck and/or his party had already cut off all decent points on which Merkel could have been attacked (Euro, NSA).
SPD looks even to lose votes on the left side. Basically a sign that voters in general donot see him win. If he had a real chance the movement would have been the other way around, because of strategic voting.
Looks like the Linke will become a real competitor for the SPD (similar as we have seen in Holland with Dutch Labour getting its backside kicked by the Socialists). The de facto leader of the Linke Sarah Wagenknegt (hope i got the name right) looks by far the most intelligent left politician she only should have a look at Matheissen or his successor Roumer (hope I got the names right) of the Socialists in Holland (let her hair hang loose and get rid a bit of her political tunnel vision). Not that Matheissen could let his hair hang loose btw (as he is nearly bald).

Anonymous said...

I note Merkel has again voiced her opinions on further regulation (together with a 'firm regulatory timetable') of the UK's hedge fund industry.

Of course, this is very popular in Germany as the EU has publicly blamed the UK's financial services industry for the problems in Europe.

The size of the problems caused by mis-selling CDOs (undertaken primarily by US banks in the US) is estimated at USD1Trn and is dwarved by the mis-selling of the Euro 'projekt' at what will end up being over EUR3Trn by the time things return to anywhere near normal.

How politicians can lie and subsequently enforce regulation on the primary industry of another EU member state is just shocking and tantamount to a trade war. It is, in fact, a further destruction of skilled and well-paid jobs from fund managers to secretaries and premises staff.

Why don't you publish the analysis of how hedge funds have contributed to the Euro crisis Merkel in the name of fairness, transparency and the truth? I, for one, will enjoy having a damn good laugh at it. Where is that EU paper on hedge funds and the short-selling of Euro sovereign debt and banking stocks? Oh, I forgot, you buried that one as it didn't find anything did it?

What you forget Merkel is that no hedge fund was bailed out by public money and that European pension funds now form the largest investor base for the hedge fund industry at over 55% of global assets under management. Don't forget too that it will be the hedge funds that will call the bottom of the Euro disaster and be the first to buy to invest properly again.

You and your fellow EU 'leaders' have wrecked Europe and are economic illiterates.

UK out.


jon livesey said...

This is worth a read:


Hans Werner Sinn says that there is something like E700bn in unrecognized losses in the eurozone banking system, and suggests that sooner or later "someone" is going to have to come up with the money.,

Rik said...

And it adds up. It is not only recognised losses it is also present undercapitalisation.
Plus misspricing (better overpricing) of large groups of assets like sov bonds.
Plus pricedrops that have not bottomed out. Mainly real estate but very likely prices in countries like Spain will have to drop further. And in say France the price adjustment in the residential real estate sector hasnot even begon.
Starting from there a lot of banks will be bust (or better even more bust than they are now), which will in its turn will cause another capitalisation issue.