Saturday, 14 September 2013


The citizens of Bavaria will go and cast their votes for state elections on this Sunday, and I discovered, after appreciating the collusion of events, like the anticipation of the beginning of Oktoberfest, which celebrates into October starting on next Saturday, that state governments do have some discretion in setting the dates for election day—no sooner than 59 weeks before and no later than 62 weeks after the last cycle of four years hence.
And though there was license to place balloting the morning after the bacchanalia, officials put it strategically a week prior to federal elections. There is not the same kind of flexibility in campaigning in the United States, whose moment of decision, by law, falls on the day after the first Monday in November—due to the agrarian nature of the early US and notwithstanding the provisos of early- and absentee-voting. That German federal elections (and neighbouring Hessen's state elections also) come maybe while nursing a hang-over is quite another matter and maybe too by design. Coincidences of the calendar are certainly not always politically advantageous but does make one wonder when it came to the legal convention—like US presidential elections being always (except in the rare case of a year equally divisible by 400) on leap-years or during years of a summer Olympiad—locust plagues, perhaps, in addition to whatever sideshows can be introduced. I wonder if such precedents were considered.