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New German President Elected  
User currently offlineRacko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4856 posts, RR: 20
Posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 1116 times:

Horst Köhler, former president of the IMF, has today been elected new president of Germany and will start his 5-year long presidency on July, 1st.



A bit more about him here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3739579.stm

I like him.

27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7951 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 1110 times:

Nothing against Mr Köhler. It was the way how conservatives and liberal democats nominated him that bewildered me.


I support the right to arm bears
User currently offlineRacko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4856 posts, RR: 20
Reply 2, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 1102 times:

And Merkel obviously got her deserved beating for that yesterday by good old Richard Weizsäcker  Big grin

User currently offlineJAL777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 1102 times:

President??? They should just rename the position "German Administrator For Ribbon Cutting" since that's what all European presidents seem to be able to do. Big grin

User currently offlinePhaeton From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 406 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 1099 times:

It's interesting that only 604 of the 1204 votes were for Mr. Köhler. This means that 18 people of the CDU, CSU and FDP voted against him. Anyway congratulations to Horst Köhler.

Here is a more thorough article in German:

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,301119,00.html

Thomas



"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.", Winston Churchill
User currently offlineKEno From Malaysia, joined Feb 2004, 1842 posts, RR: 27
Reply 5, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 1080 times:

JAL777,
The presidential system in your country (usa) is different from other countries. Little wonder why other presidents don't seem to be doing anything because they have prime ministers (or chancellor in germany).


User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7951 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 1076 times:

JAL777, nice joke, but sometimes I think the US lacks an independent head of state whose voice does have impact on the Administration and governmental organizations, who can reproach politicians for acting irresponsibly, and I don't say so because Mr Bush is your President.

[Edited 2004-05-23 19:05:53]


I support the right to arm bears
User currently offlineJAL777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 1075 times:

Of course its different.. i just find it funny that presidential elections in Europe are a big deal. Its much ado about nothing... they have very little power.

User currently offlineUshermittwoch From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2965 posts, RR: 16
Reply 8, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1054 times:

Well I wish Prof. Schwan would have won, that way we would have been spared from Angie running for Bundeskanzler the next time around.
That thought just makes me sick.
Her hair will be ridiculed in the British tabloids for months!



Where have all the tri-jets gone...
User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7951 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1048 times:

Better having Angie running for the office than Roland - "härtestmögliche" Liar - Koch!
British yellow press shouldn't be our main problem.



I support the right to arm bears
User currently offlineJAL777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1044 times:

I don't disagree NoUFO, but I feel that they should have more political clout then they do now.

User currently offlineUshermittwoch From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2965 posts, RR: 16
Reply 11, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1042 times:

While I agree that Robert Cock, as I like to call him, is the worst alternative, I still would have liked a woman as our head of state. Okay her hair isn't the greatest either, but it would have been a sign of maturity in our nation.
I mean, it has been 55 years now and he have not had any really important office which was held by a woman.
And I just hope that Angie wont be the first one...



Where have all the tri-jets gone...
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21442 posts, RR: 54
Reply 12, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1019 times:

JAL777: I don't disagree NoUFO, but I feel that they should have more political clout then they do now.

The german president does, actually. It´s just a different kind of power he has.

Actual administrative power is already allocated properly with all the necessary checks and balances with the president only acting as a final failsafe point.

Let me use the recent developments in the USA as an example of what could have been different with a separate head of state like the german one:


The primary problem wasn´t a failure in power distribution; It was a public discourse completely dominated by a partisan government with all the other power-wielding institutions completely subordinating themselves for fear of being called "unpatriotic".

A separate head of state could have reclaimed the public debate and could have put a stop to the administration´s claimed monopoly on patriotism. It would not have been the administration´s place to "own" the public debate like they did. And since the head of state is traditionally non-partisan and only has a responsibility to the nation and its people, agenda-driven propaganda would have been quite a bit more complicated to push to the extremes we´ve seen.


Another point could have been the passing of some of the more problematic laws like, for instance, the Patriot Act: An independent head of state could have admonished the administration and the parliament to reconsider parts of a law that might be problematic or even unconstitutional in letter or spirit. Such a - very rare - public admonition or even an outright refusal to sign a law is a severe slap in the face of an administration and can be quite damaging.


I can´t be positive that it would actually have prevented the current disasters; But I think an independent, non-partisan head of state can be very important for a healthy democracy (apart from relieving the administration of many representative duties).

I´m not sure if constitutional monarchs can really fill that role; The british queen, for instance, seems to be a little too restricted from commenting on current affairs. She could (and should!) have spoken up before... An appointment for life is just not the same as - even an indirect - democratic legitimation...


All in all, even though I would have preferred Gesine Schwan, I hope that Horst Köhler will grow into his new role as well as his predecessors have. Our presidents move the country by the right words at the right time and by wisdom and insight; And we´ve had a pretty good run with at least the three last occupants of the office.

So good luck to him and let´s hope for the best!  Big thumbs up


User currently offlinePelican From Germany, joined Apr 2004, 2531 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 1003 times:

Of course its different.. i just find it funny that presidential elections in Europe are a big deal. Its much ado about nothing... they have very little power.

I wouldn't say this to Monsieur le président Jacques Chirac or any other French.

http://www.elysee.fr/ang/pres/role1_.htm

Without cohabitation the French president has probably more power in France than the president of the USA in the USA.

Just my two cents

pelican


User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6421 posts, RR: 54
Reply 14, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 1003 times:

The USA is not the only country having a "strong" president. The same counts for France and Russia.

But politically powerful presidents are really a minority today (when excluding dictators).

The German way of president is the ordinary world standard today. BTW, does anybody remember the name of the Swiss president?



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlineMrniji From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 993 times:

i just find it funny that presidential elections in Europe are a big deal

it is not really that big deal. A survey indicated that more than 10 % in Nordrhein-Westphalen thought that Johannes Rau was their Ministerpraesident (Chief Minister) still last year.

Personally. I am not happy with Koehler, since he more times broke the conduct of neutrality.

Ushermittwoch, that's what I think: everyone is better than Koch. His campaign against the dual citizenship - which I legally possess due to a law loophole, same as some other 2 Million people - was a great shame. Someone world open needs to be chancellor nowadays, since we are integrating in the global political landscape. I think Schroeder, although he has his disadvantages like everyone, is doing a good job. At the End, he will win again, just as good (?) old Helmut  Smile



User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13985 posts, RR: 62
Reply 16, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 983 times:

I also supported Schroeder mostly because of his attempts to modernise German citizenship and immigration laws. I would find it great if I could move together with my (non-European) girlfriend without being forced to marry her straight away. Also my daughter out of my first marriage has a dual citizenship (her mother´s and mine).Unfortunately the conservatives of the CDU and espercially the CSU blocked all attempts to make the laws (which actually have been written under the Kaiser one hundred years ago) more fitting to modern times and realities (more binational marriages and partnerships, more international migration). Unfortunately the conservatives were more worried about the "dilution of German blood".

Jan


User currently offlinePelican From Germany, joined Apr 2004, 2531 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 982 times:

I think Schroeder, although he has his disadvantages like everyone, is doing a good job.

Record unemployment, growing public debt, growing numbers of welfare recipients, a run down public educational system... toll collect, Aufbau Ost...

I wouldn't call this a good job.

pelican


User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13985 posts, RR: 62
Reply 18, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 974 times:

Pelican,

Do you think any other government in Germany would have fared better?
First, no matter what politicians say, they have NO power to create jobs. Governments are being blackmailed by corporations and business people. Either they exempt them from taxes and contributions to the running of the state, or they leave the country altogether. Aufbau Ost was f*cked up in first place by Mr. Kohl, who, back in 1989 had bad polls prior to an election and needed the votes from the East. So he offered the Ossies complete integration into the Western system, without having contributed anything into it, and at the same time told his voters in the West that he could finance the unification without raising taxes. He did it be looting the pension and health insurance funds, which are solely paid for by employed working people, not by entrepreneurs or people above a certain income level. This is the main problem why oursocial security payments and therefore our labour costs are so high, causing in turn unemployment, because companies leave this country, causing more unemployment. The other problem is the German mentality always hoping for somebody above to fix your problems. At the moment Germany has a budget deficit, but it is impossible to get proper reforms done, because each and every special interest group demands their own exemptions.

Jan


User currently offlinePelican From Germany, joined Apr 2004, 2531 posts, RR: 8
Reply 19, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 971 times:

Do you think any other government in Germany would have fared better? - If I wouldn't think so, why should I be democratic - with the attitude that nothing would be better with an other Government I don't need elections anymore (edit:I mean the attitude all governments are equal incompetent)! Sure the alternatives aren't very bright, but the actual German government has already shown that it is unable to handle the German problems - so it's time for change again.


First, no matter what politicians say, they have NO power to create jobs. - True, but they have the power to change the framework. Look at the USA: economical problems and high unemployment in the 80's and now? Look at the Netherlands: high unemployment in the 80's and now? Look at Sweden: economical and unemployment problems in the 90's and now? Look at the UK: in the 70's and 80's -deep recession and now? ... Many countries with very different political systems have solved the economical problems which emerged in the western world at the end of the last century. Why should the most successful economy of Europe (past ww2) be unable to do the same?

pelican


[Edited 2004-05-24 00:14:41]

User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13985 posts, RR: 62
Reply 20, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 956 times:

Pelican,

I think part of it is the inability of our own entrepreneurs to look at the domestic market. Most of our successfull companies manufacture mainly for the export. Of course they are interested in getting the lowest possible wages, taxes and social security payments.
I´ve been working in Ireland during their economic boom. I noticed that this boom was mostly carried out on the expenses of employd working citizens, who paid almost all the taxes, while corporations, self-employed individuals and entrepreneurs got huge tax breaks, while at the same time using the infrastructure the normal working people provided.
As I said before, I also blame German inflexibility. e.g. I´m in favour of stricter controls in our social security system to prevent abuse, I hold it like Lenin (at least I think it is from him): "who is able to work and doesn´t want to work shall not eat!".
I think our health insurance system as it exists today makes it too easy to call in fake sick. I´m in favour of a basic government regulated health and social security system for everybody, this includes civil servants, entrepreneurs as well as workers and farmers, which will provide basic security in need, but won´t provide a luxurious life, and everything on top should have to be paid through private insurance (Ireland is usuing as similar system, and the total, e.g. for health insurance, government and private contributions combined, is still cheaper than the governmental health insurance in Germany). I´m also in favour of charging patients a certain amount for each time they visit their GP, like 20 or 30 Euro. This will keep people from going there just to get their fake sickness certificate for not coming to work. Today the doctors don´t care because they get paid anyway, and the health insurance covers it. I also don´t see why a person who is living on welfare should be entiteled to a lifestyle like somebody in a good job "so that he won´t feel outcast".
Reforms in Germany have to include ALL groups of the population, employers, workers, selfemployed and civil servants. There should be no exemptions.
But I don´t see any party being able to enforce it against all the different lobby groups.

Jan


User currently offlinePelican From Germany, joined Apr 2004, 2531 posts, RR: 8
Reply 21, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 948 times:

No appeal.
But I don´t see any party being able to enforce it against all the different lobby groups.

Changes will come when the pressure on the German system will be high enough obviously at the moment the pressure isn't high enough.

Models to change our health insurance system already exist for example "Kopfpauschale" (B. Rürup and CDU).

each time they visit their GP, like 20 or 30 Euro - I would prefer (like Sweden) that on the first day(s) of illness you will not get payment, but this are details. Self-responsibility for all people who are able to be so is the key (formerly known as Subsidaritätsprinzip)

But we also have to deal with huge regions (mostly in eastern Germany) where willing people can't find a job.

BTW. All the mentioned countries (reply 19) have at least one thing in common - they made there labor markets more flexible.

pelican




User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13985 posts, RR: 62
Reply 22, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days ago) and read 944 times:

No, I only call in sick if I´m really sick, I don´t want to be loosing 150 Euro for three days each. In Ireland you had to pay your GP a modest sum at each visit. If the total exceeded 250 Punts a year, the health insurance company jumped in, so that chronicaly sick people, who would have to see their doctor every week, wouldn´t be too badly of.

About those regions where people can´t find jobs, then they´ll have to f*cking move. A few years ago I had the choice between unemployment and going overseas. I went abroad for 2 1/2 years and it helped me to find a better job, having experience abroad on my CV.

P.S., if a more flexible labour market means moving to third world conditions, I´m strictly against it. A company doesn´t just consist of investors. It is us working guys who keep the business running.


Jan


User currently offlineMrniji From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (10 years 3 months 2 days ago) and read 941 times:

Record unemployment, growing public debt, growing numbers of welfare recipients, a run down public educational system... toll collect, Aufbau Ost...

I wouldn't call this a good job.


Pelican, as usual you tend to give single-sited, multicausal analysis:

Look at the UK: in the 70's and 80's -deep recession and now?

Just to use this example to underline my allegation. Why have Britain and the US had a drop in unemployment while Western Europe had a sharp rise...? Think: ever herad of wage inequality?? Labor markets there are more flexible and can compensate more cheap labor, while wages become more and more inequal (Britain: 30 %!!!). Do you think it is a good alternative??

If you use comparisons and data like you did, please use them properly. The main point is that the social consensus of the Golden Era has broken (goal for full employments etc) and that the quick liberalization of economies under globalization has degraded labor to be a sole input inter alia, as neo-classists say (a 'human resource')...

See the United States: no real health insurance (working at Starbucks is now seen as luxury since they provide a contribution to health insurance)... For young people the system is great: quick cash, low social expanditures... but once you're out (too old or too unflexible due to family), you can be a user...

Our welfare economy in Europe has done well, and I rather prefer to reach a global consensus on such a modell than pursuing the global consensus of liberalizing the entire economy for the sake of the managers

BTW: I agree that there have to be major changes in European Labor markets (World Labor markets), but please don't impose these changes blindly because some managers want it. At last, people want to earn money to live their jobs, they 'run' he company and deserve a bigger share. And... The right to employment is a 3rd gen human right... no wonder, that the liberalizing economies are so opposed to it

[Edited 2004-05-24 01:59:39]

User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13985 posts, RR: 62
Reply 24, posted (10 years 3 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 925 times:

Mmiji,

Welcome on my respected users list!

Jan


25 Post contains images Pelican : Just to use this example to underline my allegation. Why have Britain and the US had a drop in unemployment while Western Europe had a sharp rise...?
26 Post contains images Mrniji : Yes I do! I think it's better to have cheap labor than 10-15% (and growing) unemployment rate? I wouldn't prefer being unemployed over having a bad pa
27 Pelican : Mrniji Maybe you should read reply 19 again - were did you found a cross country comparison??? It seems to me that you don't read posts before you rep
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