In yesterday’s elections, the French Socialists (PS) and the German Social Democrats (SDP) did very well. Both of these parties represent the center-left position. And both of these parties lost the presidential elections during the last cycle. The French President Nicolas Sarkozy heads the center-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel heads the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU). But the center-right parties took a beating yesterday, and this does not bode well for Sarkozy and Merkel.
In case you’re new to some of the terminology, the French Socialist Party is a democratic socialist party and therefore is occupying the same place on the political spectrum as the German Social Democratic Party. Here at SDUSA, we consider the terms “social democrat” and “democratic socialist” to be the same thing.
In France, the Parti Socialiste took 39% of the vote in regional elections. The UMP collected only half that many with 20% of the total. Actually, the big story yesterday was that the National Front (which would equate to our Tea Party) got 12% of the vote, stealing votes away from the UMP. The Socialists are now well set for next year’s upcoming presidential election.
In Germany, a coalition of the Social Democrats and the Greens unseated the Christian Democrats in Baden-Württemberg. This is particularly painful for the CDU because they have held this state for 59 years! And it’s a big day for the Greens, who gathered 24% of the vote and just barely edged out SPD who got 23%. It looks like this will be the first time that the Greens will get to head a state government in Germany. The coalition of Greens and Social Dems did well in other German states also.
Perhaps the Social Democrat-Green partnership is something we should consider here in the U.S.