This year's first state election in a German federal state, Lower Saxony, has been deemed a litmus test for Merkel and her CDU/CSU-FDP "back-yellow" ConLib coalition with Vice-Chancellor Roesler's Free Democratic Party (FDP).
Prior to this election, the FDP was doomed with some 3 per cent of the votes but today's nearly 10 per cent of "second votes" shows how awesome and complicated Germany's election system is.
There's a two tier system. With "first pass pole or the winner take all" approach for 87 out of 135 assembly's seats available and the "second vote" which really makes the proportional distribution.
In this quite outmoded system, the Germans tend to make simple issues complicated.
The conservative CDU will certainly get more first votes for "first pass pole-" representation than the crucial "proportially-determined second votes".
In the case that the CDU Conservatives get more seats by "first votes" than calculated by the proportional distribution of "second votes", the overlapping mandates will be compensated by "extra seats" for the other parties according to the "second vote result".
Have you really understood this b.s way of determining elections? (party colors)
Well, at current prognosis by ZDF - Germany's second public broadcasting channel
CDU 36.8 % (BLACK)
SPD 32.9 % (RED)
FDP 9.6 % (YELLOW)
Greens 13.5 % (GREEN)
Others 7.3 % (without representation to state assembly "Landtag"),
the currently governing Black-Yellow government may be kept in office by slim margin - meaning by 1 or 2 seats.
If confirmed, it would mean
#1 a great deal of a blow to SPD's challenger Steinbrueck who pissed off a lot of voters by his publicly perceived "personal greed" in terms of getting more money for the job as chancellor, he had claimed was "underpaid".
#2 Merkel's and Roesler's ass could be saved in this year's national election.
Without assisting second votes by CDU voters, Roesler's FDP would never have made it over the 5 pc qualification hurdle for getting parliamentary seats.
This will mean as well that the German electorate that doesn't want to make a change to "RED-GREEN" has to promote the FDP by "awarding" second votes to the Liberals or "Free Democrates" by the Conservatives of Merkel's CDU and Bavaria's governor Seehofer's CSU parties.
If the Social Dems really want to keep Steinbrueck as their frontrunner this guy will have to make a 180 degree turn in his current "greedy" attitudes in order to regain trustworthiness.
Merkel can be relaxed for now if this slim margin keeps in favor of the Black-Yellow coalition.