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Election Eve in Berlin

8:40 PM, Sep 26, 2009 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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Berlin
One of the strange things about my trip to Germany has been the weather -- downright balmy and mostly blue skies. Those Central European dark clouds and rains lasting for days that have greeted me in the past are mysteriously absent. I suspect they will return next month along with the announcement of further job cuts. So remarkable has the weather has been that it came up among the many softball questions put to Angela Merkel at this afternoon's final CDU rally in Berlin Arena. The questioner also asked Merkel how it felt to be taking on so many men. "It's not a problem," she said, brushing him off.

The crowd was shouting "Angie! Angie!" (though with those German accents it's more like "En-jee! En-jee!"). They were eager to catch a glimpse of their leader one last time. Everything is on the line. And they're chatting about the weather? (Merkel came out to the Stones song "Start Me Up" -- You make a grown man cry -- as opposed to "Angie" -- Angie, you're beautiful, but ain't it time we said goodbye?)

This was followed by a musical act: A tall, blonde German woman in her late 40s, clad in tight leather pants and not much else, showing both muscle and sag (trust me, she was quite a sight), who sang "Superfrau" (Superwoman).

But then Merkel took the stage again, delivered a more powerful address, and advocated for a CDU/FDP (black/yellow) coaltion. She didn't yell -- not her style -- but she was firm when she made her case. Merkel can also switch modes and give the crowd a disarming smile. Of the three rallies I attended, this was the only one that ended with the German national anthem.

Everyone is saying this election is too close to call. But for what it's worth, my guess is:

CDU/CSU: 33 percent
SPD: 27 percent
FDP: 14 percent
Die Linke: 14 percent
Greens: 11 percent

A black/yellow coalition would come up with 47 percent, which, at the end of the day (and additional seats are allotted in the Bundestag in a process I would rather not have to explain), may be just enough to govern.