Lower Saxony state election, 2008
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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, although their majority was cut from 29 to 10.
Lower Saxony was seen as a stronghold of the Christian Democratic Union and their leader Christian Wulff was seen as likely to easily defeat the Social Democrats. 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. The CDU government had held spending down, introduced tuition fees for university students, while supporting the minimum wage. The Social Democrats (SPD) led their campaign with a call for a national minimum wage for all workers. 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.
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 The Green Party on 8% and The Left on 3%. This was similar to what a poll in December had shown and confirmed the strong position of the CDU in the election.
The results saw the Christian Democratic Union easily defeat the Social Democrats, despite suffering a drop in votes and seats. As a result their leader Christian Wulff was seen as having strengthened his chances of succeeding national CDU leader Angela Merkel. 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, which was described as a 'disaster' for the party. Turnout in the election was 57%.
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. Along with the election in Hesse this was the first time the Left Party had won seats in any large state in western Germany.
|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%|
|Source: Parties and Elections in Europe|
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