German elections: Center/Left=363 seats, Center/Right=279 seats in the Bundestag

The center-left candidate fighting to succeed Angela Merkel as Germany’s chancellor declared that his Social Democratic Party (SPD) intends to forge a “social-ecological-liberal coalition” after coming in first in Sunday’s election. With 25.7%, the SPD beat the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), currently in power, which garnered 24.1%, its worst showing in the 70-year history of the party…

In the new Bundestag, the breakdown for the parties will be 206 for the SPD, 196 for the CDU/CSU, 118 for the Greens, 83 for the ultra-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), and 39 for Die Linke (the Left Party).

“The voters have made themselves very clear,” Olaf Scholz, the SPD leader, said at a press conference Monday morning. He declared that his center-left party, the Greens, and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) had all picked up significant numbers of new votes, while the conservative CDU suffered a loss in support of almost nine percentage points.

Americans who never peer across the pond have little understanding of the coalitions that rule many nations around the world. Perish the thought we should get the idea to fight for more principled electoral politics here, eh?

Denmark elects 1st woman PM – turns away from economic failures

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Denmark’s center-left “Red bloc” took power on Thursday after defeating Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen’s government in a tight election driven by voter anger over the state of the economy.

Social Democrat Helle Thorning-Schmidt will become Denmark’s next prime minister, the first woman to hold the post, after Rasmussen conceded defeat…

The center-right “Blue bloc” has been in power for 10 years, during which Denmark, like other countries, suffered the worst economic downturn since World War Two. “Tomorrow I will hand in the government’s resignation to the Queen,” Rasmussen said on TV2 News. “There is no longer a basis for remaining in government.”

Thorning-Schmidt’s Red bloc will have a majority of up to five seats in the 179-seat parliament, its final size depending on the results from far-flung Greenland.

Her Social Democratic party actually lost a seat and will only be the second largest in parliament after Rasmussen’s Liberals, who gained one.

But two Red coalition parties on the far left and in the center made up the difference to put the Red bloc ahead, allowing it to claim victory and forcing Rasmussen out.

The state of the economy has been the overriding issue of the campaign, with the governing coalition parties under fire for failing to spur growth. Thorning-Schmidt attacked Rasmussen for taking the country deep into deficit…

If the count holds up, Denmark would become the latest in a series of European countries to see incumbents voted out at least in part because of struggling economies…

Denmark has been spared much of the trauma suffered by other west European countries because it remains outside the euro zone. This means it is not involved in bailing out debt-laden countries like Greece, an issue that has stirred popular anger in neighboring Germany.

But the economic crisis has turned Denmark’s healthy surpluses into deficits, forecast to climb to 4.6 percent of GDP next year. Danish banks have also been struggling, with small bank Fjordbank Mors falling into the hands of administrators in June, the 9th Danish bank to be taken over by the state since the start of the crisis in 2008.

Bravo. Ms. Thorning-Schmidt seems ready and willing to try progressive – and also unusual – solutions to what Denmark inherited from the global economic crisis. After a decade of economic charlatans and ideologues as backwards as any ever produced by the Republican Party – it’s about time Denmark gets as shot at revival.