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Parties Maneuver after German Election


Angela Merkel and the CDU may have won the German election in a landslide, but due to the peculiarities of the German parliamentary system she still has more work ahead before she can get down to governing. With no other right-of-center parties in the Bundestag, she is left with the unappealing alternatives of forming a “grand” collation with the social-democratic SPD party or the slightly-further left Greens (the ultra-left wing “Left” party is out of the question).

Unfortunately, both options have their problems: Top CDU officials have ruled out a coalition with the Greens in favor of the SPD, yet the SPD itself is souring on the idea. The FT reports that the SPD has split over the prospect of serving with the CDU, with many calling for an intra-party vote. After seeing their electoral fortunes decline following the last “grand coalition,” many SPD officials aren’t keen on repeating the experience.

Meanwhile, the green option has become more likely. Shortly after the election, AI board member Josef Joffe noted that the Green option could become a more attractive alternative if the current far-left party leadership were removed:

Then there is the Green option—possible, though not likely. It all depends on how quickly the Greens can manage to get rid of their double-headed leadership consisting of Jürgen Trittin and Katrin Göring-Eckardt. The Greens lost 2.3 points on Sunday compared to the 2009 election, after the joint-leadership duo dragged the party sharply left. They promised what politicos should never promise: higher taxes, especially for married folks with two incomes. Their environmentalist clientele—largely well-heeled urban professionals and public servants—were not amused.

Lo and behold, this is exactly what has happened: The BBC announced yesterday that the party leadership will be stepping down, with a member of the party’s “realist” wing as the expected replacement. This doesn’t guarantee that it will be invited for coalition talks, but it could certainly make many CDU party leaders more comfortable with the Green option. At the very least, it could give Merkel more leverage in negotiations with the SPD.

But either way, the lack of conservative partners means that new coalition is likely to have a considerably stronger left-wing element than it did before.

[Angela Merkel image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]

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  • Corlyss

    “Josef Joffe noted that the Green option could become a more attractive alternative if the current far-left party leadership were removed”


    “Things would be so different if they were not as they are . . . ” – Anna Russell, How to Write Your Own Gilbert and Sullivan Opera.

  • Kevin

    A fascinating story. Coalition negotiations always seem so unpredictable with bizarre mixes of policy and personalities scrambling up any neat left-right logic one tries to impose on it. I wonder why the leftist parties don’t form a left wing coalition, maybe it would need to include the Left party and this would be poisonous.

    • Blubb

      This article fails to mention that the Left is the party that built the Berlin wall and shot people.

      The SPD won’t get their fingers dirty this time, but give it two or three years and they will be desperate enough.

  • Blubb

    Joffe is wrong. They lost the votes not because they wanted higher taxes (public servants love higher taxes) but because through a chance protest by a public figure people finally realised that they wish to LEGALIZE SEX WITH CHILDREN OF ANY AGE.

    In this context, it is disgusting to see that they still managed to get 8% of the votes.

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