Raphael wrote:There was a state legislative election in Lower Saxony yesterday. The result - SPD 36.9, CDU 33.6, Greens 8.7, FDP 7.5, AfD 6.2, Left below five percent - is confused enough that both the SPD and the CDU celebrated like winners on tv; mathematically the SPD came first, but the CDU will probably be more likely to form a governing coalition, because there's no majority for red-green and the FDP has ruled out a coalition involving the SPD.
Why won't the FPD work with the SPD? I didn't think the SPD was all that horrifyingly left-wing anymore?
And why is the state election held now? Accident (they called the state election before they knew there would be a national one just before it)? Coincidence? Tradition?
Anyway, in the rest of the country, the importance of this is that party leaders are no longer worried about how anything they do might hurt them in Lower Saxony, and are now free to actually talk to each other and try to put together a governing coalition. Wheee. The first stage of this will be so-called "Sondierungsgespräche", which translates as "probing talks" and means that party representatives talk to each other to see which kinds of coalitions might be possible.
Actually, the direct translation is better here. Coalition discussions in English are often "soundings" or sometimes "sounding talks", or just "talks to sound out [so.]", etc. "Sounding" is a rarely-used word, but remains current in the Navy, in politics, and sometimes in the work place. But politicians are particularly keen on them (you'll also find politicians conducting "soundings" when they're, say, deciding to run for another office). The verb is "sound out", or sometimes just "sounded".
(Spoiler: basically the only federal level coalition that currently seems possible is CDU/CSU/FDP/Greens, no matter how difficult it might be to get the Greens and the other three parties, especially the CSU, to work together.)
After that, there'll be the actual coalition talks, in which the parties will try to work out a coalition agreement (or, to be pedantic, a coalition treaty). After that, there'll be a new government.
As an aside, apparently the CSU will try to found a new federal department of "Heimat", which is a kind of difficult to translate German word - it means "home" in the sense of "a village, town, or region where you feel at home". Apparently the task of that department (if it is founded) will be to promote the rural lifestyle and local rural cultural traditions, and to try to keep small town residents in their small towns.
For most purposes, I think "homeland" (as a noun) or "home" (as an... adjective? Abstract mass noun? whatever) would suffice, although seemingly the German is used more often. "Motherland", "mother country" etc can be used more evocatively. And sometimes we just say "heimat", though usually in a different sense (heimat and urheimat are mostly found in a historical sense).
FWIW, the word "Heimat" is more recognised in Britain than you might think, because of a deeply-beloved TV show of that name in the 1980s. A decade ago, it was voted the 10th best drama ever* (it was a brief era of German television being popular here - Das Boot was 15th). My father still goes on about it.
*for those who are curious, it was beaten by: