Dutch Driver Nyck de Vries Wins 1st Round of Diriyah Formula E-Prix 2022    Okaz tops Forbes list of most visited news outlets in MENA    Formula E one of key highlights in Diriyah calendar: Inzerillo    Morocco to reopen airspace from Feb. 7    UAE restores flights to five African countries    Share of e-payments reaches 57% in 2021, exceeding FSDP target    New COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia stay above 4,000-mark    A record 9 million need food assistance in northern Ethiopia    Arab Coalition: Saada prison was not targeted, facts will be provided    UNICEF providing aid for children caught up in Syria prison siege    8 facts you need to know about Saudi Arabia's Founding Day    Formula E racing champions at Diriyah Gate to kick off season opener    Saudi Arabia take step closer to World Cup 2022    Al-Attiyah leads after opening super special stage of Oman Rally    Crown Prince to attend 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony    Arab Parliament Condemns Bombing of Baghdad Airport As Threat to Stability of Iraq    UK Condemns Houthi Attack on UAE    Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Receives Phone call From His Nepalese Counterpart    Global stocks mixed    "Mawhiba" to Announce Results of First Edition of the "Gifted Arabs" Initiative    KSrelief Distributes 728 Winter Bags in Marib Governorate, Yemen    KSrelief Performs 104 Surgeries within Voluntary Medical Campaign to Combat Blindness in Chad    Secretary General of Palestinian National Commission for Education Praises Saudi Support for Palestinian Educational, Cultural and Scientific Sectors    Stellar speaker line-up at Leap conference in Riyadh    Tata Group takes over India's loss-making national carrier    Saudi Stock Exchange Main Index Ends Trading Lower at 12,179 Points    'Orange is the New Black' actress Kathryn Kates dead at 73    RCU launches direct flights from Paris to AlUla    Saudi Stock Market Index Ends High At 12,182 Points    Public Investment Fund Launches "Savvy Gaming Group"    Diriyah E-Prix 2-Time Champion Sam Bird Sets His Sight on More Triumph in 2022 Diriyah E-Prix    Royal Commission in Yanbu Achieves Arab Award for Operation and Maintenance    Sir Elton John postpones US shows after positive Covid-19 test    Bollywood's Shilpa Shetty cleared of obscenity over Richard Gere kiss    Taylor Swift slams Damon Albarn over songwriting comments    Omani National Football Team Arrives in Jeddah to Meet Saudi National Team    Eighth Season of ABB FIA Formula E World Championship to kick off in Diriyah    Riyadh's Qualitative Events Enrich its Winter, Attract World Attention    SFDA: Fat is a Source of Energy and Its Abundance is Linked to Chronic Diseases    Reflections on celebration of Christmas    Royal Commission for AlUla to Hold Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup 2022, Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo    Saudi Arabia's Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai Organizes a Dance Theatrical Show for Children    Saudi Arabia rebuffs UN resolution on 'sexual orientation'    Kabir Khan eyes on joint Indian – Saudi film projects    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers at Arafat Holy Site    Council of Senior Scholars: Muslim Brothers' Group Don't Represent Method of Islam, rather only Follows its Partisan Objectives, Violating our Graceful Religion    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers in Arafat Holy Site    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Nuclear issue weighs on German elections amid Japanese scare
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 17 - 03 - 2011

Akhir 12, 1432 / March 17, 2011, SPA -- A political U-turn by German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week over Germany's nuclear programme could factor heavily into a series of upcoming key state elections, dpa reported.
The question is whether the move to put off a decision to extend
nuclear power plant lifetimes, designed to respond to public
sentiment, will chime with the public or be seen as a nakedly
opportunistic move by a nervous politician - a charge she rejects.
"This is not a deal. This is not an agreement. This is a usage of
the atomic laws under a new environment," she said Thursday. "We
shouldn't be accused of legalistic tricks when none can be
It remains to be seen what voters think when they go to the polls
in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt on Sunday and then, a week
later, in elections in the key states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and
Rhineland Palatinate.
As Japan's nuclear threat grew, Merkel took action that left eight
of Germany's 17 nuclear reactors sidelined - some permanently, as she
announced stringent security checks. The move backtracked on a much-
criticized decision eight months ago to extend the lifespans of those
power plants.
Japan, Merkel argued, had forced a re-evaluation of the risks
involved in nuclear energy, as scenarios deemed impossible were
playing out in real life.
Merkel, opponents argued, was merely pulling a political stunt to
improve her election chances.
The return of the nuclear issue brings back a topic that could
play poorly for Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and one that the
party likely hoped to lay to rest by dealing with it last year, well
ahead of the upcoming round of elections.
The state elections are key because, should the CDU lose more
power at the state level, it will lose more influence in the upper
legislative house, or Bundesrat, further weakening Merkel on the
national level.
Until now in Saxony-Anhalt, Merkel's the CDU had a good chance of
continuing their alliance with the centre-left Social Democrats
This arrangement, which has been largely consensual, is contested
by the radical Left Party, whose popularity in the former East German
state has made them a tempting alternative partner for the SPD.
A recent poll in Saxony-Anhalt for broadcaster ARD gave the CDU 33
per cent, the SPD 24 per cent, the Left party 25, Green 5.5 per cent.
The far-right NPD polled 5 per cent, which would see them clear
the threshold to enter the regional parliament in Magdeburg.
The Saxony-Anhalt election had so far been dominated by local
issues, according to political scientist Nils Diderich.
These include the state's huge public debt and above-average
unemployment of 13 per cent, and the challenges of depopulation as
young people leave to seek employment elsewhere.
But this could change, as rolling TV images of the explosions at
Japan's Fukushima reactor, and the growing radiation risks, have
prompted strong reactions across Germany, where memories remain vivid
of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
In the prosperous southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, which is
home to four nuclear reactors, it could be harder for Merkel's CDU to
win favour ahead of the March 27 election.
Last Saturday, a day after Japan was hit by the earthquake and
tsunami, a planned anti-nuclear demonstration swelled to 40,000
people, forming a 45-kilometre human chain. More demonstrations have
been announced for March 26, a day before the polls.
The renewed uncertainty over nuclear power plays into the arms of
Baden-Wuerttemberg's opposition SDP and the anti-nuclear Greens, who
were already stiff contenders to Merkel centre-right coalition with
the Free Democrats.
State premier Stefan Mappus of the CDU, who has been a staunch
nuclear advocate, was quick to announce that the state's oldest power
station would not reopen after the three-month moratorium to re-
evaluate Germany's nuclear programme.
Across Germany, other state premiers from the CDU have called this
week for the country to end its nuclear power programme sooner,
rather than later.
Losing power in Saxony Anhalt would be tolerable to the government
coalition, costing Merkel two seats in the Bundesrat. Merkel's
coalition already lost its majority there last year.
But losing Baden-Wuerttemberg would be a more serious blow,
reducing her coalition's seats by a further six, to a possible 23 out
of 69.
This would force Merkel to rely ever more on the opposition to
push bills through the Bundesrat, severely hampering her ability to
implement reform during the government's remaining term in office,
which expires in 2013.
-- SPA

Clic here to read the story from its source.