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Johannes Rau addressing the Ruhr Conference in 1979

Johannes Rau addressing the Ruhr Conference in 1979
Source: Landespresse- und Informationsamt NRW

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One big happy family

The "Landesvater", Pater Patriae bulletJohannes Rau, is winning hearts and minds again. On 11 May 1980, facing his first bulletstate election as leader, Rau wins a clear mandate. And what a result! With so much approval, he's encouraged to bond ever closer with his "Landeskinder" over the coming years.

After the bulletcoal crisis comes the bulletsteel crisis. With a reputation for "getting things done", the SPD is trusted by voters to tackle this problem, too.

"Full steam ahead ..." is the Social Democrats' battle cry that earns them an absolute majority. What? An absolute majority with less than 50% of the votes? Yes, because with the small parties falling short of the 5% threshold, their votes are "lost" and only two parties stay in the Landtag.

Having taken votes from the FDP, the SPD benefits above all from their narrow defeat. The latter, the liberal Free Democrats, have asked the electorate to show courage - "Embrace freedom, embrace responsibility". Now, out in the cold, they're the ones who'll need courage - to start all over again ...

Dirk Bitzer

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A flying visit

Another Pater, in a hurry in Bonn and Cologne. A strange vehicle is seen on the roads of NRW.  bullet go on