Watch the Hamburgers

The German city-state of Hamburg goes to to polls this weekend. It is the first of seven state elections this year ahead of next year's national campaign. Next year promises to be a momentous year in politics and it is a theme I will return to, but consider for a moment that in addition to being the end of the Mayan calendar, the US, Germany, France, China, Russia and Mexico go to the polls. Elections are also possible in Canada and Japan and they always seem possible in Italy.

Merkel's CDU has been the dominant party in Hamburg for the past decade, but polls suggest that it will be pushed out in favor of the center-left Social Democrats. Hamburg traditionally as strong hold of the Social Democrats. Merkel lost her majority in the upper house last May, while tensions over Greece's bailout was running high.

There are though other implications to consider. A strong victory for the SPD, who will likely govern with the Green, will give the party momentum going into next month's contests, including in Baden-Wuerttenberg, which has been held by the CDU for half a century. Moreover, next month's elections are on March 27, just a couple days after the big summit that is a self-imposed deadline for European officials to have comprehensive plan to address the debt crisis.

Watch the Free-Democrat Party's performance. It is a center-right party that has been taking a very hardline against Germany bailing out its debtor neighbors. It is Merkel's coalition partner on the national level. The worse the FDP does, ironically, the more strident its message is likely to be, which will make it more difficult for Merkel compromise.
Watch the Hamburgers Watch the Hamburgers Reviewed by Marc Chandler on February 17, 2011 Rating: 5
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