This July hasn’t seen too much action in terms of the usual summer test balloons. With regard to Sweden the most obvious explanation is that all parties are saving their forces for the electoral campaign which is due to start in earnest sometime during August. And maybe the heat and the draught has something to do with it as well.
In Denmark, the biggest piece of news so far is that Social Liberal MP Naser Khader in a radio interview called for a vote among all members of the party when the next political leader of the party is elected. Marianne Jelved has no known plans to retire but she has made her support for the former party chairman and minister of education Margrethe Vestager clear.
One problem for Khader is that the Social Liberal Party always has divided political and organisational offices: The parliamentary group has chosen – in a more or less formal way – the political leader while the annual party conference has elected the party chairman. On the other hand, Khader may be able to benefit from a conflict within the party with regard to what parliamentary strategy – stay close to the Social Democrats or act independently – the party should follow.
In Germany, there is a really fascinating story about attempts by Chancellor Angela Merkel to persuade the Prime Minister of Hesse, Roland Koch, to exchange his present post in favour of the post as federal Minister for Trade and Industry. Koch would be slated to replace CSU’s Michel Glos who is being described as the German government’s problem bear.
Koch is one of Germany’s shrewdest politicians and while it is easy to see why Merkel – to quote the former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson – would prefer having Koch inside the tent pissing out instead of outside the tent pissing in, I have a hard time seeing Koch moving to Berlin for any other reason than to become Federal Chancellor.