Lower Saxony state election, 2008

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Lower Saxony state election, 2008
Lower Saxony
← 2003 27 January 2008 (2008-01-27) 2013 →

All 152 seats in the Landtag of Lower Saxony
77 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Landtag Niedersachsen DSCF7769.JPG Landtag Niedersachsen DSCF7302.JPG Roesler-klein.jpg
Leader Christian Wulff Wolfgang Jüttner Philipp Rösler
Last election 91 seats, 48,3% 63 seats, 33,4% 15 seats, 8,1%
Seats before 91 63 15
Seats won 68 48 13
Seat change Decrease23 Decrease15 Decrease2
Popular vote 1.455.687 1.035.894 279.557
Percentage 42,5% 30,3% 8,2%
Swing Decrease5,8 Decrease3,1 Increase0,1

  Fourth party Fifth party
  Landtag Niedersachsen DSCF7803.JPG Landtag Niedersachsen DSCF7385.JPG
Leader Stefan Wenzel Kreszentia Flauger
Party Green Left
Last election 14 seats, 7,6% 0 seats, 0,3%
Seats before 14 0
Seats won 12 11
Seat change Decrease2 Increase11
Popular vote 273.934 243.106
Percentage 8,0% 7,1%
Swing Increase0,4 Increase6,6

Ministerpräsident before election

Christian Wulff

Resulting Ministerräsident

Christian Wulff

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The 2008 Lower Saxony state election was held in Lower Saxony in north-western Germany on 27 January 2008. Despite losing votes and seats, the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) held on to its position as the leading party in the state. The CDU's coalition with the Free Democratic Party (FDP) was able to continue after the election,[1] although their majority was cut from 29 to 10.


Lower Saxony was seen as a stronghold of the Christian Democratic Union[2] and their leader Christian Wulff was seen as likely to easily defeat the Social Democrats.[3] The election in Lower Saxony took place at the same time as an election in the state of Hesse and Wulff was seen as a more moderate leader than Roland Koch in Hesse and consequently more likely to perform better in the election.[4] The CDU government had held spending down, introduced tuition fees for university students, while supporting the minimum wage.[5] The Social Democrats (SPD) led their campaign with a call for a national minimum wage for all workers.[6] The SPD leader in Lower Saxony, Wolfgang Jüttner, was little known to voters and unusually during the campaign made an attack on Wolff for his personal life.[7]

An opinion poll conducted from 2–4 January showed the CDU on 45% and their coalition allies the Free Democrats on 7%, sufficient to retain a majority together. The Social Democrats were on 33%, The Green Party on 8% and The Left on 3%.[8] This was similar to what a poll in December had shown and confirmed the strong position of the CDU in the election.[9]

Election results[edit]

The results saw the Christian Democratic Union easily defeat the Social Democrats, despite suffering a drop in votes and seats.[10][11] As a result their leader Christian Wulff was seen as having strengthened his chances of succeeding national CDU leader Angela Merkel.[12] The 30.3% of the vote that the Social Democrats won was the worst performance by the party in Lower Saxony since the Second World War,[5] which was described as a 'disaster' for the party.[12] Turnout in the election was 57%.[12]

The Left Party entered the Lower Saxony assembly for the first time after winning 7.1% of the vote, safely above the 5% threshold required in order to win seats.[13] Along with the election in Hesse this was the first time the Left Party had won seats in any large state in western Germany.[14]

e • d Summary of the 27 January 2008 election results for the Landtag of Lower Saxony
Party Ideology Vote % (change) Seats (change) Seat %
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) christian democracy 42.5% −5.8% 68 −23 44.7%
Social Democratic Party (SPD) social democracy 30.3% −3.1% 48 −15 31.6%
Free Democratic Party (FDP) free market 8.2% +0.1% 13 −2 8.6%
Green Party (Bündnis 90/Grünen) environmental 8.0% +0.4% 12 −2 7.9%
The Left (Die Linke) democratic socialism 7.1% +6.6% 11 +11 7.2%
National Democratic Party (NPD) extreme nationalist 1.5% +1.5% 0 +0 0%
Free Voters (FW) various 0.5% +0.5% 0 +0 0%
All Others (gaining less than 0.5%) 2.0% +0.0% 0 +0 0%
Total 100.0%   152 -31 100.0%
Source: Parties and Elections in Europe


  1. ^ Kulish, Nicholas (2008-01-28). "Merkel Party's Edge Is Tiny in Crucial State". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  2. ^ Benoit, Bertrand (2007-12-04). "Merkel in attack on US-style pay awards". Financial Times. p. 2. 
  3. ^ "Europe: Pay and punishment; Germany's state elections". The Economist. 2008-01-19. p. 34. 
  4. ^ Scally, Derek (2008-01-26). "German state polls apolitical test for Merkel". The Irish Times. p. 11. 
  5. ^ a b "Europe: Hessen lesson; German state elections". The Economist. 2008-02-02. p. 42. 
  6. ^ Benoit, Bertrand (2007-12-28). "SPD to focus on minimum wage". Financial Times. p. 4. 
  7. ^ "Dossier: German State Elections in Hesse and Lower Saxony". Deutsche Welle. 2008-01-26. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  8. ^ "Merkel's CDU May Extend Reign in Lower Saxony State, Poll Shows". Bloomberg.com. 2008-01-08. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  9. ^ "Merkel's party may lose state polls: Report". The Peninsula. 2007-12-30. Retrieved 2009-05-15. [dead link]
  10. ^ Quetteville, Harry de (2008-01-28). "Support for Merkel slumps in state poll". The Daily Telegraph. p. 14. 
  11. ^ Benoit, Bertrand (2008-01-29). "Merkel emerges with prize from Hesse poll". Financial Times. p. 2. 
  12. ^ a b c Scally, Derek (2008-01-28). "Setback for Merkel as support for CDU slips in state elections". The Irish Times. p. 11.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "setback" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  13. ^ Benoit, Bertrand (2008-01-28). "German elections offer scant cheer for big parties". Financial Times. p. 6. 
  14. ^ Benoit, Bertrand (2008-01-29). "Merkel relief over German poll result". Financial Times. p. 2.