My Vote For Change

Here comes today’s foreign affairs‘ lesson. The Germans, as you might or might have not known, are going to vote a new parliament tomorrow. It’s actually one year earlier than it should have been and here’s the short version of how it came to be so:

Germany has two major political institutions, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. The Bundestag is voted once every four years on the same day in all of Germany and also votes the chancellor. So we vote for the parties and then they get to send people to the Bundestag based on the result of the votes and then the Bundestag votes the chancellor. The Bundesrat (as far as I know, so don’t sue me if you find out I got something wrong) consists of the people voted for in the „Landtagswahlen“ which are elections held in the different regions of Germany every four or five years (I don’t know exactly how often). So it can happen that the leading party of the Bundestag isn’t the leading party of the Bundesrat and that’s kind of bad because nearly everything (in terms of new laws and such) has to go through the Bundesrat first, so if the majority of the Bundesrat is of the opposing party nearly nothing gets done because everything that has been decided in the Bundestag gets rejected in the Bundesrat. Mighty big fun.

So, after the last Landestagswahl here in Northrhine-Westphalia the Bundesrat was nearly 100% CDU (the more conservative party) while our leading party in the Bundestag and therefore chancellor was SPD (the more democratic party). This is when the chancellor decided that the elections should be held one year early, because it was clear that with so many differences in the Bundestag and Bundesrat they were facing a lot of difficulties in the future.

So, tomorrow evening we are either going to be very happy or very angry. Or, on Thursday we’ll either take the vacation of goddamn victory or we will flee the country. I must admit that I have never been so afraid of an election before… and it doesn’t look all that good. And though I try to stay away from political opinions on my blog, let me just say that I would welcome a change a lot. So, that should tell you as much as you need to know about where I’ll make my little X’s tomorrow.

PS: If you didn’t understand anything about what I said about the German political system or why we have early elections (I’m a little unclear about that myself), do yourself a favor and don’t ask me, consult a better source. Like Wikipedia or something. I’ve heard rumors that there are people who are actually smarter than me.