LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) – There is a 15% chance of Scotland’s independence from Britain and a 30% risk of a second independence referendum, investment bank Morgan Stanley said on Wednesday, ahead of national elections early next month.
Current polls show that the Scottish National Party (SNP) could win an outright majority in the May 6 vote, and with the pro-independence Greens also taking a few seats, the Scottish parliament, Holyrood, looks almost certain to have a majority in favor of independence.
“With pro-independence parties likely to have a majority in the May 6 Holyrood election, we see a 15% chance of independence,” Morgan Stanley said in a research note.
Following a second 30% possible independence referendum, the bank said it would take at least two years to negotiate a split arrangement, implying January 1, 2025, as a plausible start date for independence. (Reporting by Marc Jones; editing by Thyagaraju Adinarayan)
BERLIN (Reuters) – Deputy leader of the German Greens, Annalena Baerbock, said on Monday she would run for chancellor in September elections, the first time the leftist party has sought top positions in its 40-year history.
Baerbock, a former trampolinist champion who has seen support for his party increase over the past year, said he would offer a “fresh start” and focus on investing in education, digital and green technology.
Analysts say the odds of an outright win for the ecological party are still far off – even though the Greens have become a powerful force that has benefited from voter fatigue with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.
The Baerbock group still lags conservatives by about five points in the polls, although there are signs of division in the conservative camp that has ruled Germany for 16 years.
Baerbock, 40, is trying to allay fears about his inexperience. “Democracy lives from change. Yes, I have never been a chancellor and never a minister, “he told a press conference. “I support renewal. Another extension of the status-quo. “
“We want to lead this government – but since politics is not a wish fulfillment exercise, it is up to voters to decide who gets out of this election with how strong they are,” he added.
Baerbock was nominated for the post of chancellor by his party and was formally presented on Monday by deputy leader Robert Habeck – an orderly process that stands in stark contrast to the public split among conservatives.
Armin Laschet, chairman of the Christian Democrats (CDU) and Markus Soeder of the sister party CSU Bavaria, remained at loggerheads on Monday over which of them should lead their increasingly tense alliance.
“While Laschet and Soeder are still struggling in the arena and the potential for party damage could be huge, the Greens have provided masterpieces of political professionalism,” said ING economist Carsten Brzeski.
The Green family, born in the 1980s out of an ecological movement in the late 1960s and 1970s, rule the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, a former conservative stronghold.
A Forsa poll last week put support for the Greens at 23%, behind 27% for the Merkel alliance.
To lead a coalition government, the Greens could work with the leftist Social Democrats (SPD), which according to a Forsa poll has 15% support, and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), at 9%. Another three-way tie could be with SPD and Linke’s far left.
In a more likely scenario, given the current figures, the Greens could also join the government as Merkel’s conservative junior partner.
Minister of Finance and future chancellor of the SPD Olaf Scholz was quick to congratulate Baerbock on his candidacy, tweeting that he is “looking forward to an interesting and fair competition”.
A person close to Scholz, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Scholz and Baerbock have a good and professional relationship and their party has many overlapping policy objectives.
Additional reporting by Joseph Nasr, Rene Wagner and Michael Nienaber; Edited by Maria Sheahan, Raissa Kasolowsky and Andrew Heavens
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Green Party chancellor candidate said on Monday he wanted to lead the next government after September’s elections in Europe’s largest economy, urging voters to help his ecological party overtake the conservatives leading the election.
“We want to lead this government – but since politics is not a wish fulfillment exercise, it is up to voters to decide who gets out of this election with how strong they are,” Annalena Baerbock told a news conference.
BERLIN, April 11 (Reuters) – The two contenders vying for chancellor in Germany’s ruling conservative coalition in September elections will meet leading members of parliament on Sunday as pressure grows for decisions on who should run.
Armin Laschet, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) leader, fell behind Markus Soeder, chairman of her Bavarian twin party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), in opinion polls but enjoys the support of some of the country’s powerful prime ministers.
Usually the leaders of the two parties, who make up the parliamentary bloc, decide who will run, but several lawmakers are demanding to vote this time.
The outcome of Sunday’s talks, which are also expected to cover other issues, is unclear. Although participants can decide who will run for themselves, they can also agree on a process or schedule for selecting candidates.
Laschet, 60, a centrist widely seen as a candidate for Merkel’s continuity but who has clashed with him over coronavirus restrictions, has made it clear he wants a candidacy.
Soeder, 54, an astute political operator who has sided with Merkel during the pandemic, has not officially said he wants the role, saying his place is in Bavaria. No CSU leader has ever been chancellor of Germany.
Many conservatives are nervous about competing in the September 26 election without Merkel, which has led them to four wins. He has ruled out running for a fifth term and has not said which of the two candidates he wants.
The conservative bloc has slumped to around 27% in polls, partly due to increasingly chaotic management of the pandemic. In the 2017 election, he won nearly 33%.
Laschet and Soeder said a decision would be reached by the end of May, but many conservatives wanted to end the uncertainty before that.
Volker Bouffier, Hessen state premier, called for a decision next week, while Ralph Brinkhaus, chairman of the parliamentary party, gave them two weeks.
“I attach great importance to this happening immediately. There is no deadlock until Pentecost, “Brinkhaus told the Funke media group.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has been nominated as chancellor by the Social Democrats, while the Greens plan to announce their candidate on April 19.
Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Edited by Mike Harrison
BUDAPEST / BERLIN (Reuters) – An assistant to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban questioned Germany’s democratic standards on Thursday after a top German football club fired a Hungarian coach for expressing anti-immigrant and anti-LGBT views.
The Foreign Ministry said it had summoned Germany’s business attorney to express surprise at Hertha Berlin’s sacking of goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry by Hertha Berlin on Tuesday.
“Expressing your opinion is not punishable under the rule of law,” Orban chief of staff Gergely Gulyas told reporters, noting that Petry’s dismissal reminded him of Nazi Germany’s “totalitarian regime”.
“I think this is outrageous, Germany, above all, has to answer whether it still upholds the rule of law,” he said.
A German foreign ministry spokesman said the Hungarian government’s comments were “completely incomprehensible to us”.
“The attorney for business communicates this to the Hungarian government in his conversation (at the ministry). We reject references to National Socialism in the most obvious terms, “the spokesperson said.
Hertha said on Tuesday that although they were satisfied with the former Hungary international’s work, comments he made criticizing LGBTQ people and immigrants ran counter to the club’s position on tolerance and diversity.
Hertha spokesman Marcus Jung said on Thursday that Gulyas’ equal footing with Nazi Germany was a “strange comparison” and that the club “actively promotes social diversity, equality and tolerance”.
Many EU member states, including Germany, have expressed concern about what they see as an anti-democracy movement in Hungary under Orban. Its right-wing government denies any such criticism.
The government has been anti-immigration, has excluded same-sex marriage from Hungary’s constitution, limited gay adoption and legal recognition of transgender people, and has often portrayed homosexuality as an aberration.
Petry was fired by Hertha for questioning what made Red Bull Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi “defend” lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
In an interview with Hungary’s pro-Orban newspaper, Magyar Nemzet, he also criticized European immigration policies, saying “criminals have flooded into Europe”.
Gulacsi had protested the Hungarian government’s anti-LGBT policies in a Facebook post.
“Everyone has the right to equal treatment,” Gulacsi wrote. “I support the rainbow family. Let’s speak up against hatred, let’s be more accepting and open. “
Additional reporting by Anita Komuves in Budapest, Editing by Mark Heinrich, Timothy Heritage, and Giles Elgood