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(22,117 posts)
Sun Sep 24, 2017, 05:40 PM Sep 2017

Eight Lessons from Germany's Elections

Angela Merkel is back for a fourth term, the Social Democrats are wounded and a right-wing populist party has been elected to parliament for the first time in decades.

First: The right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) is the third-strongest political party in the country and will be taking seats in the German parliament, the Bundestag.

It marks the first time since the early days of postwar Germany that a far-right party will be represented in the Bundestag. That will have consequences in the form of clashes, provocations and scandalous rhetoric.

Second: Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives (the CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU) have suffered significant losses; but Merkel has still been returned to the Chancellery for a fourth term.

Creating a governing coalition this time around will be complicated. The Social Democrats (SPD) no longer want to be part of a grand coalition with Merkel's conservatives, which leaves Merkel with only a single option: a coalition with the Green Party and the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP).

There are, however, several hurdles to such a constellation: For one, it would include four separate parties, placing a premium on the amount of day-to-day coordination among them. Plus, it remains to be seen if the Greens are interested in joining forces with a suddenly reanimated FDP.


Eighth: The parliamentary opposition will be polarized between the SPD on the one hand and the AfD on the other - at a time when the governing coalition will likely be one (a "Jamaica" coalition between the CDU/CSU, the FDP, and the Greens) that Germany has never before seen at a federal level.

In the best case, that could be an opportunity for renewal - and when it comes to confronting the AfD, Germany's fundamental values, including freedom and democracy, are at stake.

More at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/angela-merkel-afd-spd-eight-lessons-from-germany-s-elections-a-1169606.html

Chancellor Angela Merkel confers with the runner-up, SPD leader Martin Schulz. Schulz has indicated the SPD will not stay on as junior partners in Merkel's grand coalition, thus forcing her to govern through an as-yet undetermined minority coalition.
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