Daily Archives: January 21, 2013

Welcome to our rolling coverage of Barack Obama’s inauguration for another four years as US president, complete with agenda-setting speech. By Johanna Kassel in New York and Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington with contributions from FT correspondents. All times are EST.

5.40 As we wrap things up for the night, a round up of the best the FT has to offer about President Obama’s second inauguration. Thanks for joining us

5.30 As the parade continues, running about 45 minutes behind schedule, the arrival of the president and first lady at the balls will be delayed. We’ll leave them to review the rest of the floats and bands as the sun sets on Washington.

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Esther Bintliff

German politician Stephan Weil (SPD) is seen on an election poster next to a half torn one of the incumbent state premier David McAllister in Lower Saxony (AFP/GettyImages)

A poster for Social Democrat Stephan Weil next to one of the CDU's David McAllister (AFP/GettyImages)

Voters handed a narrow victory to Germany’s centre-left opposition in Lower Saxony on Sunday. ‘But it’s only a regional election!’, you cry. Here’s why it matters:

1) The vote in Lower Saxony is considered a dry run for Germany’s general election in September this year.

The defeat of Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition in the swing state on Sunday – albeit by one seat – is a blow to the Chancellor. It emboldens her opponents, the centre-left alliance of the Social Democrats and Green party, who won power with 69 seats compared to the 68 seats of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union-led coalition. Merkel is still favourite to win in September – particularly because her personal ratings in the polls are excellent – but Lower Saxony suggests she has a battle ahead.

2) Merkel’s party, the CDU, lost power due to the downward drag of its coalition partner, the Free Democrat Party (FDP) – and the fear is that this effect could be replicated in the national elections.

Merkel’s own party still came top in Lower Saxony, with 36% of the vote, but in coalition politics, it’s all about team performance – and the chancellor’s chosen teammate let her down. The voting results slightly hide this: on first glance, the FDP did far better expected, winning 9.9%, compared to polling that showed them with just over 5% last week. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

In their second terms, many American presidents decide to strut the global stage. Richard Nixon had his overture to China. Bill Clinton became obsessed by the Middle East peace process. George W. Bush was embroiled in the Middle East war process.

The best reads from today and the weekend to kick off your week…  Read more

Welcome to our rolling coverage of Barack Obama’s inauguration for another four years as US president, complete with agenda-setting speech. By Tom Burgis, Lina Saigol and Ben Fenton with contributions from FT correspondents. All times are EST.

11.00 For ease of reading, we’re going to switch into a new post. Like the transition between two presidential terms, this is meant to happen seamlessly. Just click here to go on reading the latest updates from our colleagues in DC.

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