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Germany

Yearbook 2006

2006 GermanyGermany. Three state elections held in March were seen as a first test of the so-called large coalition that took office last fall. According to CountryAAH, Chancellor Angela Merkel's government seemed to get approved; her Christian Democratic CDU won in Baden-Württemberg and Saxony-Anhalt, while the Social Democratic SPD remained the largest in Rhineland-Palatinate. Somewhat worse in the two elections in September. In the crisis-hit Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the SPD rebounded from 40 to 30% and could only re-form a government with the leftist PDS, with only a small margin. The National Democratic NPD gained just over 7%; the state thus became the fourth in T. with right-wing extremists in parliament. In Berlin, the ruling SPD strengthened its position slightly, while the coalition partner PDS lost support. The result was nevertheless a new "red-red" coalition.

2006 Germany

At the federal level, opinion polls were increasingly failing during the fall for Merkel. Perhaps many voters felt that the "forced marriage" between Germany's two major parties led to too many political compromises in politics. Nevertheless, several comprehensive reforms were carried out: the retirement age was increased, parental insurance of the Swedish model was launched, the heavy-handed legislative work was simplified by a power shift from the states to the federal government and a comprehensive restructuring of the healthcare system was adopted to bring down costs in the world's third most expensive system.

The economic development was favorable. Growth was good and unemployment fell to below 4 million in November - the lowest level in four years.

SPD got a new party leader when Matthias Platzeck resigned in April, after only six months on the post. Kurt Beck, head of government in Rhineland-Palatinate, became the new chairman of the party.

Foreign policy approached Germany under Merkel's leadership again the US, with which the relationship has been frosty since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Concerns that domestic right-wing extremists or Islamists would strike during the summer football World Cup came to shame. As a nation, Germany was considered to win a lot of goodwill at the tournament which became a folk party without more serious incidents. The host nation salvaged the bronze medal and celebrated as if it were gold.

Shortly after the Soccer World Cup came a reminder that the country was not immune to terror when two bags of explosive charges were found on commuter trains in Dortmund and Koblenz. According to the prosecutor, they had caused extensive damage if they had detonated. Two young Lebanese were arrested on suspicion of interference and several others were taken in for questioning.

The author and Nobel laureate Günter Grass aroused great resentment when he revealed that he was a member of the Waffen-SS during the Second World War. Grass, known as a peace activist and truth-seeker on the left, had previously stated that he was a soldier during his teens - not that he belonged to the Nazi elite.

The German self-image also got a thorn when media in October published photos from Afghanistan of German soldiers who violated corpses and posed with skulls. The images caused a storm of protest, but also raised concerns about the security of the more than 2,700 Germans in the ISAF force in Afghanistan.

In November, the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe found Moroccan Mounir Motassadeq guilty of assisting in murder for his involvement in the terrorist attack against the United States in 2001. The sentence will be set by a Hamburg court, which thus takes Motassadeq's case a third time. He was first convicted of assisting with murder, but second only to membership in a terrorist organization.

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