Germany elections: Voters’ voices

Al Jazeera talks to Germans as they head to the ballot box.

The Greens hope to garner enough votes to be part of the new government [Getty Images]
The Greens hope to garner enough votes to be part of the new government [Getty Images]


Linda Walter, PhD student and founder of human rights NGO

Social justice is very important for me, [and] all questions concerning the European Union. I’m considering [voting for] the Green Party, the SPD, and the Pirates.

[Sam Bollier/Al Jazeera]

Concerning the Greens, I don’t like that they are against smoking, even though I don’t smoke … I don’t like the SPD, first of all because of [chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrueck] – I have a problem with him – and also because I think they’ve changed a lot and they’re not really closely linked to social justice anymore.

With the Pirates I have a problem: At least 50 percent of them, they are not really into politics. And they actually do not know what they’re talking about. So I’m not sure if I can actually vote for them, even though I like what they say.

I especially like that [the Pirates] know what the internet is, and that it will be the future of our society!

Dag Nabrdalik, antique dealer

In this election there are no major issues. That’s the sad thing, that an election campaign is like this: You see a “mutti” [German for “mom”, a nickname for Angela Merkel] who travels around the country and [it seems there] are no problems, but they exist, of course.

 [Sam Bollier/Al Jazeera]

This problem [called] “Europe” – where all of a sudden only the financial counts, and not anymore that people come together. It’s all about economic and financial interests, and this [needs to] change.

Similarly, when it comes to the economy: No unemployment [sounds] good, but if you look closely, [the statistics include] people who cannot live by the labour they do. If you have two jobs and work for starvation wages, then go to the government job centre to ask them for the money you’re lacking … that cannot be the solution, I think.

I vote for the SPD because it represents my interests – not quite, but the closest. It’s socially oriented, as far as it gets, not conservative. I’m a traditional SPD voter. I think that [chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrueck] would not do worse than the current chancellor.

Thomas Seidlitz, hot dog vendor

No, [I will not vote]. Because I find it does not have any effect, in any case … I have never voted. I will never vote. I despise that on principle.

[Sam Bollier/Al Jazeera]

The politicians just fill their pockets with money and don’t really help. If you’re a minister and you work like a month or half-a-year, you have the right to get thousands [of euros], a lifelong pension. They are only marionettes of industry and capitalism. They don’t have anything to say, they’re just marionettes. And I don’t support that.

When you live here in Berlin, you see old people, 70 years old, who search trash containers for [refundable] bottles, because they have no money. They have very tiny pensions. Something needs to change here; I don’t support that.

Wolfgang Spaarschuh, retired mason and floor tiler

[Sam Bollier/Al Jazeera]

Merkel is straight-forward, honourable and just. The Bible and God’s 10 commandments are in her heart.

[The economic situation of Germany since 2009] is better.

In Germany, things are progressing.But if the Left rises to power, there will be ruin.

I was critical of the former [Communist] East German regime, like Lech Walesa in Poland.

Julian Roesner, student of business communications

 [Sam Bollier/Al Jazeera]

Most likely [I will vote] for the Pirates, because I believe with the current situation regarding the NSA [US’ National Security Agency] and the debate around data protection, it’s important to send a message for a new direction.

[In 2009] I wasn’t allowed to vote, I was too young.

I think since then, Germany might possibly be better off, but that doesn’t have to do with the [current] government.

The environmental debate is an important issue for me, but parties don’t differ as much in this field anymore, compared to the debate around freedom and data protection.

Biene Krause, unemployed

Voting on Sunday? I personally don’t do it.

[Sam Bollier/Al Jazeera]

All these posters around here, that promise a minimum pension or to stop arms exports … one thing is common to all parties, all of them: They’re lying like world champions … After the elections, do you think they will actually enforce 1,050 euros [$1,420] minimum pension? Forget about it.

If I knew there was one party that would actually keep their promises, I would go vote. Back in the day when I still had good faith I did vote, for the Left party, because they were relatively friendly to alternative [people]. The name Left is not for no reason, but in the end they are not better than CDU or SPD. Every year you see [them campaigning for a] 1,050-euro minimum pension, but they don’t take any steps forward.

To be honest, nothing has changed at all [economically] since 2009. The system has to change completely so that everybody profits, not only the politicians … so that all people are on an equal level and this huge gap between the poor and the rich stops existing.

Anja Krieger assisted with translation from German.

Source : Al Jazeera

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