November 8 2000

Comparing political systems

The elections and the possibility that Gore might not become president although he got 200,000 votes more than Bush made me think about different political systems.

I’m always wondering why so few people vote in the US. It’s supposed to be a free country, where everything is possible, everyone can fulfil their dreams… and people are not interested in who is their president?

In Germany, we last voted for a new chancellor two years ago. No, we don’t elect a chancellor; we vote for a candidate that gets send to the Bundestag, and for a party. The chancellor is then elected by the Bundestag. This is somewhat similar to the US system, but I don’t think it’s possible that the candidate of a certain party can be elected for chancellor when the party (or coalition) does not have the overall majority.

But things in Germany are a little more complicated than in the US. We have six different parties in the Bundestag, so coalitions are necessary.

And we had a voter participation of 82.2 percent! (In 1994, it was only 79%.)

Here’s the official provisional result of the election to the 14th German Bundestag held on 27 September 1998. (In case you are wondering, “overhang mandates”, or Überhangmandate are additional seats a party get if more of their candidates are directly elected into the Bundestag than the number of seats they get because of the percentage of votes for the party.)


Zannah had another cool lego link: The Star Wars Trilogy – all made from Lego! (The only strange thing about it is that I see ?@?@?@ here and there. Although the site is in English.)

Space Cowboys

Gabi und Jörg haben gestern im Kino Space Cowboys gesehen und geben ihm zwei Clowns. Dann können André und ich ihn ja beruhigt ansehen gehen. Und zwar in der Originalfassung! facehappy:

When I grow up, I wanna be an astronaut!

More voting

I voted 2000 – { fray }:

“The following pages hold 14 different voices telling 14 different stories about politics, elections, and America. […] But you won’t find any political diatribes or partisan rants here. These are stories about the thing that connects us to the talking heads on television, the thing that makes it all work, the thing that keeps us coming back to the polls year after year. – The thing otherwise known as hope.”

US ElectionsUpdate:

So maybe Bush has not won after all? I just came back from the university, only to hear on the news that the vote counts for Gore and Bush are much closer to each other in Florida than was thought, and that the votes have to be counted again.

Heh. On the nine o’clock news this morning, our radio station had a quote from the latest CNN news:

“CNN declares George Walker Bush the 43rd president of the United States!”

Oh yeah? So they actually think the media declare someone president? Now that it turns out he may not have won after all, it seems even more ironic.

I do still hope that it’s the people that elect the president, not the media.

Have any elections ever been so close?

Näheres gibt es auch bei der Zeit zu lesen – aktuelle Meldungen jeweils hier.


US Elections

So Bush has won. Ugh! sadface:

Results are here in the NY Times (link via Garret) – oder hier beim Spiegel (Link von Jörg).

I’m going to the university now. See you later…

10 thoughts on “November 8 2000

  1. Oliver

    “You ain´t seen nothing yet”. I can not believe these results. The person with the most votes seems about to loose. Well, according to CNN, it may take up to ten days to make a final call.

    Seems like this ain´t over till its over. Much like Bayern Munich who lost the european cup final in the last 30 sec. when they were already celebrating their victory.

  2. Andrea Frick

    I last heard the nine o’clock news on the radio before leaving for the university. They said Bush had won. I come back a little before 4 p.m., and now it seems it’s not yet clear whether he has won or Gore.

    Funny side note: On the news at 9 a.m., they had a piece of the latest CNN news:

    “CNN declares George W. Bush the 43rd president of the United States!”


  3. garret p vreeland

    you wonder about voter turnout; so do we.

    it seems voter turnout has declined since the 60’s. there could be many causes, but i believe that the radical 60’s brought about the concept of ‘not-voting’ as being a viable method of ‘making a statement.’

    after this election, and these two candidates, i wonder that anyone could ever think that ‘not-voting’ makes a statement. it’s like knowing you have to have dinner, and having a choice between chicken and fish, but ‘not choosing’ and having to then accept what you’re given. ‘not choosing’ does no good, and actually can do you harm.

    i keep thinking of the johnny clegg song (south africa, before nelson mandela):

    ‘the west is sleeping in a fragile freedom;
    forgotten is the price that was paid …’

    — from the song ‘one man, one vote’

  4. Scott Hanson

    … if both the chicken and fish are rotten and moldy, I’m not going to choose either one, thank you!

  5. Scott Hanson

    One similarity that you didn’t mention is that for both the Bundestag and the US Presidency, there is not a national election but rather a set of simultaneous state elections. In Germany, it would also be theoretically possible for a party or coalition to gain a majority in parliament despite having a minority of the popular vote (but highly unlikely, given proportional representation).

    Strange things can happen here, too… take the last state election in Hamburg, where the main SPD candidate Vorscherau resigned just after the election, despite having won, giving Hamburg a different Bürgermeister than the voters thought they were electing.

    And here in Lower Saxony we’re now on our second non-elected Prime Minister since Schröder left to become Chancellor.

  6. garret p vreeland

    you may not choose, but you would have to eat one or the other anyway …

    … for four years!


    the only difference is that you can say “i didn’t want either one.”

  7. yam

    And here in Lower Saxony we’re now on our second non-elected Prime Minister since Schröder left to become Chancellor.

    The Prime Minister is not elected directly by the people. This is the job of the parliament.

  8. Scott Hanson

    s/non-elected/appointed/; # true enough
                              # but still some voters might feel that the
                              # they never heard of the current prime
                              # minister when when they gave the SPD
                              # an absolute majority 2 1/2 years ago
  9. Scott Hanson

    On my flight from Minneapolis to Amsterdam 3 weeks ago, after my son had thrown up in my lap and I wasn’t feeling good myself, I said no thanks to both the chicken and the fish… and the stewardess didn’t make me eat either one. Maybe she was afraid I’d make an even bigger mess if I did.

  10. yam

    but still some voters might feel that the they never heard of the current prime minister

    They don’t have to! That’s the main difference between the presidential and the parliamentary democracy. In the US they opt for the president. In Germany they vote for the parliament.

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