Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 2497 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YE YM YI

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 09BERLIN1197, WESTERWELLE'S SURGE CLINCHES BLACK-YELLOW IN

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09BERLIN1197.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BERLIN1197 2009-09-28 11:11 2010-11-28 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Berlin
VZCZCXRO5783
PP RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHRL #1197/01 2711128
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 281128Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5317
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BERLIN 001197 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CE, INR (KEETON) 
NSC FOR JEFF HOVENIER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/28/2019 
TAGS: GM PGOV PREL
SUBJECT: WESTERWELLE'S SURGE CLINCHES BLACK-YELLOW IN 
GERMANY; MERKEL GAINS SECOND TERM 
 
REF: A. BERLIN 1188 
     B. BERLIN 1186 
     C. BERLIN 1176 
     D. BERLIN 1167 
     E. BERLIN 1162 
     F. BERLIN 1138 
     G. BERLIN 1179 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR PHILIP D. MURPHY FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) and (D) 
 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1.  (C) Chancellor Merkel achieved her goal of a solid 
parliamentary majority for her Christian Democratic Union 
(CDU) with its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social 
Union (CSU), and the pro-business Free Democratic Party 
(FDP), but will have to contend with a self-confident FDP 
that is likely to seek major concessions in terms of policy 
and personnel.  Nonetheless, the CDU/CSU's 33.8 percent 
showing was its lowest since 1949, while the FDP's 14.6 
percent was its strongest in the history of the Federal 
Republic.  The SPD crashed, while the Left Party and Greens 
were able to score their highest results ever, with the Left 
Party surpassing the Greens overall and overtaking the SPD in 
the eastern German states by a wide margin.  Merkel hopes 
that coalition negotiations with the FDP will be "quick and 
decisive," while FDP Chairman Guido Westerwelle -- widely 
expected to be the next foreign minister -- has emphasized 
his intention to press for the party's goals of a fundamental 
tax reform, more emphasis on education, and stronger 
protection of civil liberties.   Merkel and Westerwelle 
already met privately election night (September 27) and 
coalition negotiations should begin soon, most likely with 
the goal of having a formal agreement with the selection of a 
cabinet by the time the Bundestag convenes a month from now. 
End Summary. 
 
OVERALL TREND: MAJOR PARTIES IN DECLINE 
--------------------------------------- 
 
2.  (U) The results show the decline of the major parties -- 
particularly the SPD -- and the strengthening of a five-party 
system.  Preliminary results give CDU/CSU 33.8 percent 
(versus 35.2 percent in 2005); the FDP 14.6 percent (9.8); 
the SPD 23.0 (34.3); the Left Party 11.9 (8.7), and the 
Greens 10.7 (8.1).  The decline in the CDU/CSU percentage is 
due particularly to the CSU's losses in Bavaria, where the 
party suffered its worst Bundestag result ever at 42.6 
percent, down from 49.2 percent in 2005, but it still won all 
45 of its constituencies.  These preliminary results give the 
CDU 24 "surplus mandates" because of the high number of 
constituency seats it won despite its low 33.8 percent second 
vote showing (see REFTEL G). 
 
3.  (U) The new coalition should end up with control of both 
the Bundestag and the Bundesrat (Upper Council).  Based on 
the preliminary official results, the CDU/CSU will have 239 
seats in the Bundestag (up from 226), which along with the 93 
FDP Bundestag seats (previously 61) would give the new 
government a solid majority.  The SPD will have 146 seats in 
the Bundestag (down from 222), the Left Party 76 (versus 54) 
and the Greens 68 (versus 51).  The Schleswig Holstein 
election on September 27 also appears to have given the CDU 
and FDP a parliamentary majority in that state.  With CDU-FDP 
governments there and in Saxony, where the two parties won a 
majority on August 30, the new CDU/CSU-FDP coalition will 
soon have a majority in the Bundesrat and should be able to 
gain its approval of future coalition legislation. 
 
4.  (C) Chancellor Merkel and her CDU/CSU Union are somewhat 
disappointed by their party's results, but are publicly 
emphasizing that the CDU/CSU-SPD Grand Coalition has met its 
demise and will be replaced by a center-right coalition 
composed of the CDU/CSU and FDP.  "We achieved something 
fantastic," said Chancellor Merkel, now facing a second 
four-year term.  "We achieved a stable majority in Germany 
for a new government...We can party tonight, but there is a 
lot of work waiting for us."  An uncharacteristically 
emotional Merkel -- clearly relieved by her victory -- 
promised to be the "Chancellor of all Germans" -- old and 
young, entrepreneurs and workers -- and said the CDU/CSU 
would be sufficiently dominant in the new coalition to 
prevail "in questions that affect social balance." 
 
5.  (C) Despite her huge personal popularity, however, Merkel 
led her CDU/CSU Union to its second poorest result in 
history, leaving her vulnerable to future backstabbing within 
 
BERLIN 00001197  002 OF 003 
 
 
her party.  Merkel -- while happy to be rid of the Grand 
Coalition with the SPD -- now faces the challenging task of 
entering a coalition with a party that could prove to be more 
difficult to manage than the SPD.  Merkel will start talks 
with the FDP within days.  It could, however, take up to the 
end of October for the parties to forge the policy 
compromises and work out the distribution of cabinet posts 
necessary to seal a coalition deal. 
 
FDP: THE REAL WINNER 
-------------------- 
 
6.  (C) The FDP will return to government after eleven years 
in opposition, having achieved its best election results in 
the party's history.  Its leader, FDP Party Chairman Guido 
Westerwelle, will most likely become Germany's next foreign 
minister (see REFTEL E).  At the FDP election celebration, 
Westerwelle told his party faithful that "We want to be part 
of the government.  But this means responsibility, and we are 
ready to take on this responsibility." Westerwelle said his 
party would work to ensure that Germany gets a "fair tax 
system and better educational opportunities" and that civil 
rights would once again be respected. The FDP will be in a 
very powerful position to demand a larger number of cabinet 
seats in a new German government. They are likely to expect 
to get at least the equivalent of what they have had in the 
past:  the foreign office, either justice or perhaps interior 
(which they led from 1969-82), economics or possibly finance, 
and at least one other ministry (in the past they have had 
education and economic cooperation (i.e. development). 
However, the FDP will find it difficult to negotiate a 
coalition agreement with the CDU/CSU over the coming weeks, 
especially in the areas of tax cuts (see REFTEL F) and civil 
rights, including data privacy (see REFTEL D). 
 
SPD: HARD ROAD AHEAD 
-------------------- 
 
7.  (C) It would be hard to exaggerate the dimension of the 
SPD defeat.  The party fell more than 11 points to its worst 
result in the post-war period.  Its share of the eastern 
German vote was 19 percent, behind both the CDU and Left 
Party, and the FDP came within striking distance of the SPD 
in some western German states, including Bavaria, where the 
SPD's 17 percent was just ahead of the FDP's 15 percent.  The 
SPD election-night party was like a funeral, and Steinmeier 
and SPD party chairman Muentefering appeared grim-faced to 
announce that Steinmeier would be the Bundestag caucus 
chairman and thus unofficial leader of the opposition to the 
new black-yellow government.  Muentefering did not, as many 
expected, announce his resignation but it is likely to come 
by the time of the next party conference in mid-November. 
 
8.  (C) Exit polls show that the SPD lost more than a million 
votes to former supporters who simply stayed home and 
additional voters to the Left Party and Greens, and that the 
public still blames it for the changes in unemployment 
insurance and the retirement age enacted during the Schroeder 
government and as part of the grand coalition.  The SPD, with 
only four minister-presidents and a shrunken parliamentary 
caucus, will have to decide how to profile itself against its 
two fellow leftist opposition parties, and the party left is 
likely to press for coalitions with the Left and Greens at 
the state level. 
 
LEFT OVERTAKES GREENS 
--------------------- 
 
9.  (C) The Left Party -- under Oskar Lafontaine's and Gregor 
Gysi's leadership -- can also claim electoral victory with 
their party's best showing ever in a parliamentary election. 
Having won 11.9 per cent of the total vote and 20 direct 
mandates -- the largest number ever for one of the smaller 
parties -- it will be difficult for Germany's other parties, 
especially the SPD, to ignore The Left's steady rise in 
popularity in east and west Germany (see REFTEL B).  The 
party successfully stole the SPD's thunder and was partially 
responsible for the SPD's poorest showing ever in German 
election history.  The Left Party can now concentrate on 
achieving the ultimate prize in German politics in 2013: a 
governing coalition with the SPD and the Greens.  Berlin SPD 
Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit has already said that this 
year's election must be the last one in which the SPD 
excludes the possibility of cooperation with the Left, and he 
and other left-wingers in the SPD will likely fight to bring 
the two parties closer together. 
 
GREENS: HOW TO STAY RELEVANT? 
 
BERLIN 00001197  003 OF 003 
 
 
----------------------------- 
 
10.  (C) The Greens may have celebrated their first double 
digit showing (10.7 per cent) in a parliamentary election, 
but the party was unsuccessful in preventing a black-yellow 
coalition or becoming the third strongest party in the 
Bundestag (see REFTEL A).  Party Co-Chairman Cem Oezdemir -- 
who failed to win his direct mandate and was too low on the 
party list to win a seat in the Bundestag -- said that the 
Greens would establish themselves as a "think tank for social 
issues and for Germany as a whole."  The SPD's disastrous 
electoral result will remind the Greens that they may need to 
reach out to the CDU if they are to remain a relevant 
political power.  For the foreseeable future, Oezdemir hinted 
that his party would concentrate on achieving good results at 
future state elections and plotting their return to power in 
2013. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
11.  (C) Chancellor Merkel's main campaign objective -- to 
attract centrist support by out-positioning the SPD as the 
best protector of Germany's social welfare state -- was 
successful, although her CDU/CSU union suffered losses, 
primarily because of the CSU.  She will now have to find a 
way to balance this promise with FDP demands for greater 
reforms while dealing with the likely struggles between a 
strengthened FDP and a CSU that is concerned about its 
continued decline.  The parties will now enter complex 
coalition negotiations with pressure to complete them by the 
time that the new Bundestag convenes in late October, these 
talks have the potential to be very contentious.  Merkel will 
want to stamp her authority on the coalition agreement, while 
Westerwelle will be a tough bargaining partner for Merkel as 
he aims to extract the maximum amount of policy and personnel 
concessions from the CDU/CSU.  Finally, as a weakened SPD 
moves into the opposition, it can be expected that it will 
seek to continue the public debate on the major campaign 
issues and begin to rebuild itself, a process that could 
include its strong re-positioning to the left. 
 
12.  (C)  What does a CDU/CSU-FDP victory mean for the United 
States?  On a practical level, Germany will have a new 
foreign minister, most likely Guido Westerwelle, who has 
enjoyed a difficult relationship with the United States 
during his time spent in opposition (see REFTEL D). 
Westerwelle will face a steep learning curve at the MFA, but 
we should not expect him to play second fiddle to Chancellor 
Merkel.  The foreign and security policy rivalry between the 
MFA and Chancellery during the Bush Administration will not 
disappear.  Indeed, they may be enhanced with Westerwelle's 
attempt to profile and make an international name for himself 
as quickly as possible, making it difficult for us to 
identify who is in the lead on any given issue.  Chancellor 
Merkel and Westerwelle will be competing for attention; the 
latter's flamboyant and outgoing style may give him a leg up 
but Chancellor Merkel will be keen to assert her primacy in 
international affairs, especially on economic and EU matters. 
 She has more government and foreign policy experience that 
will come in handy in this future duel, and in an age of 
international summitry, the Chancellor rather than the 
Foreign Minister calls the shots.  We should not 
underestimate her desire to carve out a political legacy for 
herself, especially in the international arena, and her 
record of strong cooperation with Washington suggests that 
her dominance is likely to have a net benefit for US 
interests. 
 
13.  (U) This cable was coordinated with Consulates General 
Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, and Munich. 
Murphy