Gender - Part 14

posted by usha on 2005/09/20 20:24

[ Gender ]

Actually, my brief considerations and late comments on the German elections could fit into a couple of topics: German elections are of European importance, the special situation of the attempts to force a voter's decision for or against a woman belong to well-defined spaces of identity, and the very same topic fits into the subject of gender where it is to be placed now.

I left Germany in 1999 and I am not too interested in German affairs any more, although, of course, I try to be informed about the politics and actions of my country's political representatives. The recent election campaigns and their analyses in the media have been disturbing, though.

If the aspect of sex and gender has such an impact on the profile of the German parties, the voters, and the structure of the forming of opinion, the partly hysteric negotiation of Angela Merkel's candidacy has been completely disappointing. There has been no single voice to simply utter the positive fact of a woman's candidacy. Every comment had its reservation: yes for women, but not for Angela Merkel; yes for the Angela Merkel, but not for the conservatives (and vice versa), etc.

The whole question of party politics has been reduced to the one of the personal standing - of one single man and one single woman. The discourse asked for impossible things, namely to choose either a woman or a man as Federal Chancellor regardless of the parties they stand for, or to break with engrained stereotypes of modernity of an enlightened gender policy and conservative reductionism in order to vote for "the woman". All these inconsistencies (and a lot more) and the scandal of scandalizing a female candidacy within such a discourse of hidden double-binds are perfectly illustrated by a comment of German writer Monika Maron. Gender is not the same as sex - a fact which the ongoing politics of identities is forgetful about too often.


Antworten

01 by georgieva at 2005/09/23 20:58 Bitte registrieren und/oder loggen Sie ein, um zu antworten
Actually, my brief considerations and late comments on the German elections could fit into a couple of topics: German elections are of European importance, the special situation of the attempts to force a voter's decision for or against a woman belong to well-defined spaces of identity, and the very same topic fits into the subject of gender where it is to be placed now.

I just want to paste an article published in today's Bulgarian press on the German elections as it reveals the way of the analyses here and the total absence of gender perspective in them.
Germany's Deadlock: The Bulgarian Parallel
Anyone seeking precedents for Germany's painful post-election imbroglio need look no further than Bulgaria three months ago, analysts say, although the outcome in the two countries is unlikely to be the same.
"Down to the last detail, the current situation in Germany is the same as the one that followed the June 25 general elections in Bulgaria," said Austrian expert on European politics Peter Ulram.
In both cases the outgoing government leaders, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a social-democrat, in Germany and Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha, a centrist, in Bulgaria, were narrowly defeated by their parliamentary opposition, he noted.
And in both cases the voters deprived the grouping that won the most votes -- the German conservatives under Angela Merkel and Bulgaria's socialist leader Sergey Stanishev -- of a majority big enough to allow them to form a viable government, Ulram added.
In another parallel, the winning parties in both countries at first ruled out any possibility of joining forces with the outgoing government in a "grand coalition" and also said they would not govern with the extreme formations in parliament - the anti-government communist left in Germany and the nationalist right in Bulgaria, each of which won nearly nine percent of the vote.
Germany's imbroglio, which emerged from elections less than a week ago, is far from being resolved, but analysts from the outset considered the possibility of a "grand coalition" between the two dominant parties.
That was precisely what finally emerged from Bulgaria's inconclusive vote, although Ulram said it was less likely to happen in Germany.
After seven weeks of horse-trading, and under pressure from the European Union, the Bulgarian centrists of former king Simeon II consented to join a coalition with the Socialists and a smaller Turkish minority party.
And on August 16 after heated debates in the National assembly, Sergey Stanishev was elected Prime Minister by 167 to 68 votes.
"It is less likely that a 'grand coalition' of this type could be formed in Germany," Ulram said. "With such an alliance, there would be no opposition in the Bundestag (the lower chamber of Germany's parliament) and that would strengthen the extremes -- the leftists of Oskar Lafontaine and the neo-racist national democrats," he explained.
"In Bulgaria the Socialists and the centrists were able to strike a compromise because both parties had pledged to ensure Bulgaria's entry into the European Union in 2007," political analyst Fritz Plasser added.
"In Germany the political programs of the conservatives and the social democrats are too different to permit such a closing of ranks," Plasser said.
On Thursday the two German leaders, Merkel and Schroeder, ran straight into disagreements during their first tentative talks on a possible coalition.
"It would be possible for Schroeder to head up a minority government with a tight majority support obtained by scraping up every available vote in the Bundestag," analyst Anton Pelinka of the University of Innsbruck said.
"Thus he might try his hand at governing for a couple of months, but faced with no ability to push through reforms he will call new elections in the spring" of 2006, he predicted.
Following the formation of Bulgaria's three-party government in August, political analyst Tatiana Burudzhieva predicted a break-up of the broad-based centre-left coalition after Bulgaria's accession to the European Union on January 1, 2007 and saw an even "stronger reason" for a possible rupture if the European Commission postpones the country's accession till 2008.

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