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North Rhine-Westphalian Landtag (state parliament) in Düsseldorf

North Rhine-Westphalian Landtag (state parliament) in Düsseldorf
Source: Pressestelle Landtag NRW

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No majority for the SPD

bulletState election on 14 May 1995. The SPD sets its sights on an absolute majority in North Rhine-Westphalia - but doesn't get it. So the Greens, represented in the Landtag for the first time, will have to help out in a government coalition - a personal affront to some bulletSocial Democrats accustomed to having their own way.

"CDU - the new power in NRW," proclaim the Christian Democrats. However, the voters prefer to trust the devil they know. So no change of government, but the Social Democrats have to fight hard in this campaign.

The SPD calls for a clear-cut majority. Too many cooks spoil the broth - "Let's keep things straightforward," they say, recoiling at the idea of sharing power with the Greens.

This dreaded scenario becomes reality. After fifteen years, North Rhine-Westphalia is not longer run by the SPD alone. The Green Party, die GRÜNEN, can now take their seats in the cabinet. "Politics needs ideas - green verve for NRW."

In practice, the parties make life difficult for each other, bulletblocking many of each others initiatives. On the one hand, a Green party demanding fundamental changes; on the other, Social Democrats resenting any interference in their pragmatic policies.

The "comrade" most uncomfortable with the new arrangement is their leader, "Landesvater" bulletJohannes Rau. The state premier reviews his position. He's no longer young, and he didn't get the clear vote of confidence he'd have liked.

A few years later, in 1998, Rau hands over the reins of power to his designated "crown prince", bulletWolfgang Clement.

Dirk Bitzer

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And good riddance!

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