With just five months to go until Germany’s elections, two opposition parties are putting aside their differences to target a bigger enemy: Angela Merkel. It had looked for some time as if the current three-party center-right coalition (Christian Democrats/Christian Social Union/Free Democrats) was headed for re-election, but three developments are throwing that outcome into doubt.First, the Free Democrats are sinking and may not get the five percent needed to get into the Bundestag. Second, an anti-euro party has organized itself (although it’s too soon to tell just how far it will go). While all German parties are threatened by these interlopers, the conservative parties will probably be hardest hit.And now, as the FT reports, the Greens have announced that they intend to form a coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD):
During a three-day party congress in Berlin five months before national elections, the Greens positioned themselves to the left of the Social Democrats (SPD) with calls for higher income tax and a property levy on the rich. […]Making the first appearance by a Social Democrat leader at a Green congress, Sigmar Gabriel, the party’s national chairman, delivered a passionate plea to the Greens to stop flirting with Ms Merkel’s conservatives….“There are only two parties in Germany that can tame the financial markets, and that’s you and us,” he told delegates, to loud cheers.
The Greens have moved to the left on economic issues, and both the Greens and the SPD seem to be urging more help for the southern Eurozone countries. This new alliance comes at the expense of a possible coalition with Merkel’s Christian Democrats; the Green parliamentary leader said of the CDU “[w]e are not going to form a coalition with a band of corrupt amigos like that.” With this new coalition pushing for even stronger EU ties and a new anti-EU party shaking things up too, Merkel must be feeling squeezed from both sides.These elections may be the most important vote in Europe in a generation.[Angela Merkel image courtesy of Wikimedia]