Merkel’s defeat- a setback for gambling reform?

Article as published on Wednesday 23rd January 2013 on MediaToday 

Source: Mario Petrov¸ PKF Malta 

In the elections of the past three years ¸ the parties in Merkel’s federal coalition have lost control of five states . Last week’s election in Lower Saxony was almost dead heat between the parties. For hours it seemed as if the election had confirmed the government led by David McAllister of the CDU¸ who is half-Scottish¸ with a single-seat lead but surprisingly the final results revealed that the SPD-Greens had 69 seats to the CDU-FDP’s 68. It is worth noting that the biggest victors of the evening in terms of votes were the FDP – which defied all forecasts that it would fail to secure the 5% necessary to get into parliament. FDP against all odds instead won 10% of the vote while the Greens which polled their best result in the state for years.

Last Sunday’s state election gives the center-left a stronger majority in the Bundesrat upper house of parliament¸ which means the opposition to Merkel can block major legislation. The state election in Bavaria will be set to take place in early September and many agree this will be the last test before the general election on September 22¸ in which chancellor Merkel is widely expected to win a third term. The good news for Merkel’s coalition partners is shared with the Liberal Free Democrats which having garnered almost 10 percent of the vote¸ the FDP exceeded all expectations .The swing was about   100¸000 votes won over from Christian-Democrat voters¸ who cast their second vote for the FDP in order to keep the ruling coalition in power. So what happens now ? Many agree that after the election for the “Landtag” (federal state parliament) the SPD and the Greens have only a one voice majority in the parliament although this allows them a change of a new Prime Minister. He is Hanoverian chief mayor Stephan Weil and this appointment is an important indication showing voter trend for the elections in whole Germany in autumn. Analysing the results we note how the CDU lost 6.5 points¸ however¸ remained with the 36.0 percent relative majority leader ¸ followed by SPD which came on 32.6 percent (plus 2.3%). The Greens achieved 13.7 percent (plus 5.7%)¸ the FDP reached 9.9 (plus 1.7%) and the left polled 3.1 percent (below 4.0%). This means the one-voice majority in the new Landtag for Red-and-green versus  black-yellow with 69 to 68 mandates.Observers point out that the cliffhanger result of the Niedersachsen election can have important effects on the Bundesrat (The states representation of Germany.) Here the majority is in the hands of the former opposition party which having regained a small one seat majority theoretically wields the power to block plans of the Merkel government. Frank-Walter Steinmeier (chairmen of the SPD) is triumphant about the “creation of the slim majority” and if used without impunity can block  the CDU over a long term. The pyrrhic election victory for Red-and-Green in Niedersachsen is well appreciated since they last enjoyed power in the Bundesrat in 1999 ( it has 69 seats ) and they are keen to use it.

Every law¸ every order¸ every application¸ every resolution and also every invocation of the conciliation committee need at least 35 votes to be approved. Now SPD and the Greens can use liberally the new majority to s