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Europe

Mission coalition

Text by Sébastian SEIBT

Latest update : 2009-09-25

Angela Merkel and the CDU are leading in the latest opinion polls, but who will they form a coalition with? Political analysts are currently at a loss to forecast what the post-election coalition backroom wheeling and dealing will result in.

Angela Merkel and the CDU are leading in the latest opinion polls, but who will they form a collation with? In the final sprint towards the finishing line on September 27, political analysts are at a loss to forecast what the post-election coalition backroom wheeling and dealing will result in.


However, the most likely combination at this point is that between the conservative CDU and the centre-right liberals of the FDP. The reasons for this are primarily ideological. Both parties largely agree politically and economically: both believe in free-market economics and lowering taxes.


However, German elections are also shaped by realism and personalities. In the magazine Focus, FDP head Guido Westerwelle summed up his party’s position: “We either form a coalition with Merkel or we go into opposition.”


The last Stern newspaper/RTL poll from September 22 indicated that a CDU-FDP coalition would take 48% of the Bundestag seats, versus 47% for a three-way coalition between the SPD-Die Linke-die Grünen.


A Jamaican coalition


Basic mathematics would seem to indicate a continuation of the current “grand coalition” between the CDU and SPD. According to the poll, this combination would take over 60% of the vote. These two parties have been co-ruling since 2005.


However, the ideological clashes between the two that have arisen in recent years have made a continuation of this scenario untenable. According to former German chancellor and CDU member Helmut Kohl in an interview with the tabloid Bild, “the last four years have shown that the constant compromises this partnership has forced on everyone is no longer viable.”


Hubertus Heil, secretary-general of the SPD, said in an interview with the daily Die Zeit that four more years would be “capital punishment” for Germany. Nonetheless, if Merkel finds herself unable to form a majority with the FDP, the SPD is still her best default option.

Following the 2005 elections, the spectre of a “Jamaican coalition” – between the CDU (black), FDP (yellow), and Grünen (green) - was raised. This combination, however improbable, offered an alternative in the absence of a CDU or SPD majority.


This does not seem to be holey unreasonable, especially since the Green agenda has been gaining in popularity in recent years. However, the Greens have no interest in being a third wheel. Jürgen Trittin, the head of the Greens at the Bundestag, told Die Welt, “A Jamaican coalition is out of the question.”


Still, the Greens are still holding out hope that the Left can make s surprise comeback on Sunday, which would pave the way to a coalition with the SPD and die Linke. In fact, several polls taken last week showed that as many as 40% of German voters were still undecided.

Date created : 2009-09-25

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