Last Sunday voters in Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine Wesphalia (NRW), sent a loud message: voters are much more concerned about problems other than climate protection and green energies.
The state’s ruling SPD Socialists/Green Party coalition government led by Hannelore Kraft took an historic beating, getting tossed out as the state swung far – from the left to the right.
The online International Economic Forum for Renewable Energies here consequently wrote:
Energy policy in Germany’s most populated state could change profoundly.”
Rise of the right
The center-right CDU party led by Armin Laschet took the top spot as it pulled in 33% of the vote, some 6.7% more than they did in the 2012 election. Most observers believe the CDU will partner up with business-friendly FDP free democrats, who picked up an impressive 12.6% of the vote, 4% more than the previous election.
The newcomer hard-right AfD party pulled in 7.4% in their first election in NRW ever.
Demise of the left: In total the center/right-of-center parties gained a whopping 18%, marking a major political shift.
Meanwhile the once ruling SPD Socialists saw their result disintegrate, falling almost 8% lower than 5 years ago, going from 39.1% to just 31.2%. The SPD coalition partners, The Greens, collapsed from 11.3% to a mere 6.4%. Meanwhile the extreme leftists, Die Linke, fell below the 5% threshold, and thus were booted out of the state parliament.
If anything, the results of the election show foremost that NRW citizens are far more concerned about other issues, such as crime, deteriorating educational quality and uncontrolled immigration, than they are about green issues. In recent polls climate and environment scored at the bottom of concerns.
Shift back to fossil fuels?
The results also hint at a growing sentiment that may be taking hold across Germany: Germans are realizing that no matter how much pain they might endure in trying to rescue the climate, ultimately their contribution on a global scale really will have very little impact at all. Whatever reductions Germany may achieve over the next 10-20 years will be wiped out in just a matter of months by large developing countries elsewhere, like China, India, and the African continent. What’s the point of all the pain?
According to the online International Economic Forum for Renewable Energies here:
With the altered balance of power in the most populated federal state comes an end to the previous energy policy of the ousted Red-Green state government. Conventional power sources will now get more support.”
Working class anger
The hard right AfD in fact garnered a large share of its support from working class people, who traditionally voted for the SPD, but who had grown dischanted with the widespread crimes waves, and hostility aimed by Greens at traditional energy industries and jobs.
Greens and a number of Socialists have called for an accelerated shut down of German coal plants, many of which are located in NRW. German power companies, such RWE and EON, have seen billions in losses and tens of thousands of layoffs over the past years, a direct result of massive green energy subsidies and a run-away feed-in act.
The NRW election results bode especially ill for the German left nationally, as federal elections are slated for September. It had been speculated earlier that the SPD’s new leader Martin Schulz would have a chance at ousting Angela Merkel and lifting the leftists and greens back into power for the first time in over a decade. But already any added popularity Schulz may have brought to the party earlier appears to have fizzled. Moreover, The Greens, traditional coalition partners of the SPD, are near record lows in the opinion polls (near 6%).
There’s risk that September’s election will end in a rout for the DPD and Greens.
New potential NRW government no big fan of green energies
Although the CDU often pays lip service to green energies, they are in fact not so keen about pushing them through with vigor. The FDP has recently been becoming more vocal in opposing wind and solar energy outright in many locations, and rather favor limiting them to certain area located along motorways and offshore.
The winds of energy are truly shifting in Germany.