World What does Germany's election result mean for the US?
Voters choose new Hong Kong electors under pro-Beijing laws
HONG KONG (AP) — Select Hong Kong residents voted for members of the Election Committee that will choose the city's leader in the first polls Sunday following reforms meant to ensure candidates with Beijing loyalty. The Election Committee will select 40 of 90 lawmakers in the city’s legislature during elections in December, as well as elect the Hong Kong leader during polls in March next year. In May, the legislature amended Hong Kong’s electoral laws to ensure that only “patriots” – people who are loyal to China and the semi-autonomous territory – will rule the city.
Following parliamentary elections on Sunday, Germany has entered an indeterminate period of coalition negotiations. The question of which parties form a government has significant stakes for U.S. interests.
Olaf Scholz's center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) won 206 seats in the Bundestag to the 196 seats of Armin Laschet's center-right Christian Democratic Union-Christian Social Union in Bavaria coalition. The next government needs at least 368 votes to command a majority, so either party will need coalition partners. This likely means one of three options; either an SPD coalition with the Greens and the classical liberal Free Democratic Party, a CDU-CSU coalition with the Greens and the FDP, or a continuation of the current CDU-CSU supercoalition. Fortunately, the extreme Left Party's poor showing means that an SPD-Left-Green coalition, a nightmare for U.S. interests, is out of the question.
Germany's diversity shows as immigrants run for parliament
BERLIN (AP) — Ana-Maria Trasnea was 13 when she emigrated from Romania because her single, working mother believed she would have a better future in Germany. Now 27, she is running for a seat in parliament. “It was hard in Germany in the beginning,” Trasnea said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But I was ambitious and realized that this was an opportunity for me, so I decided to do whatever I can to get respect and integrate.” Trasnea, who is running for the center-left Social Democrats in Sunday's election, is one of hundreds of candidates with immigrant roots who are seeking a seat in Germany's lower house of parliament, or Bundestag.
With the Greens winning a record 118 seats, they and the 92-seat-winning, pro-capitalist FDP will be coalition kingmakers.
Like the CDU-CSU, the FDP is in favor of increased German defense spending toward the 2%-of-GDP NATO minimum target. That's one positive for the U.S., which has been. But the FDP also seeks a deferential policy toward Russia and is unlikely to challenge China. The but supports reaching the 2% NATO target. While the SPD is slightly more concerned about Chinese human rights abuses, that's its only real positive. As finance minister, Scholz pared back even the mildest efforts to move toward the NATO target. His party has also adopted a pathetic defense procurement stance, opposing the purchase of armed drones. Put simply, he's unlikely to bring strength to the chancellor's office.
In German election, hunger strikers seek climate promises
BERLIN (AP) — After three-and-a-half weeks on a hunger strike, Henning Jeschke is frail and gaunt, but determined to go on, still hoping to pressure the three candidates for chancellor of Germany into meeting him for a debate about the climate crisis ahead of Sunday’s general election. For the first time in Germany, climate change is perhaps the most dominant issue in an election campaign, especially for young voters. It's at the center ofFor the first time in Germany, climate change is perhaps the most dominant issue in an election campaign, especially for young voters. It's at the center of televised debates among candidates, and five of the six main parties offer plans with varying degrees of detail for slowing global warming.
More promising is Green leader Annalena Baerbock.
Baerbock has attacked incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel's China and Russia policies. Pushing Vladimir Putin's Nord Stream 2 energy pipeline and thento prevent his energy blackmail, Merkel has acted like a Kremlin agent ( ). Baerbock understands to NATO's security and Eastern European sovereignty. Indeed, Putin has on Eastern Europe.
Merkel has also been a, relegating concerns over Beijing's in return for trade. Merkel's designated successor, Laschet, is set to continue in kind.
Where does this leave us?
While the Greens don't support the 2% NATO target, they would increase cooperation withto counter China and Russia. On that basis, U.S. interests would be best served if Baerbock took her party into government via the foreign ministry. Considering the CDU's support of higher defense spending, America's best interest would then be a coalition of the CDU-CSU, Greens, and FDP.
Germany election: Sleeping Beauty's forest is dying. It's not the only climate crisis facing nation's next chancellor
Gazing out from the rocky ledge of Sleeping Beauty's castle in central Germany, the countryside below stretches out in a patchwork of light and dark green forests before stopping dead. © Helena Schätzle/Laif/Redux for CNN Kristina Kuethe, Peter Meyer's partner, stands in a rejuvenated forest. At the heart of this lush landscape sits a swath of dry, bare earth. The ground is empty, save for a few ghostly white trunks pointing skywards. Viewed up close, this scene in the Reinhardswald nature park is equally desolate.
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Teflon leader: Party's big loss won't tarnish Merkel's image .
BERLIN (AP) — Angela Merkel will leave office in the coming months with her popularity intact among voters and widely admired beyond Germany as a chancellor who deftly steered her country, and Europe, through numerous crises. Her center-right political bloc, on the other hand, is in shambles. The once-dominant Christian Democratic Union and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, suffered their worst-ever national election result Sunday. The Union bloc took home less than a quarter of the vote and may find itself relegated to the role of opposition after 16 years in power.