Germany not famous for easy way outs from political stalemates

German Parliament, the Plenary. (© German Bundestag).

And now ‘Frau Bundeskanzlerin’ what? The truth is though whatever the future holds for the German political landscape, is no good. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s failure last weekend to form a government, with a viable parliamentary majority has irreparably stained the so far pristine scenery of the country’s politico-economic affairs. The unsuccessful attempts to convince liberal FDP party leader Christian Lindner, ‘l’anfant terrible’ of German politics, means Merkel’s reign has ended.

This is an unfortunate development at a time when the European economy “recovery is strengthening and broadening appreciably”, according to the International Monetary Fund. As for the German economy itself, it’s at its best for many decades. However, this doesn’t help resolving the political Gordian knot. It doesn’t help either some wider political problems of Europe like the Brexit and the attempt to reshape the future of the EU, as the French President Emmanuel Macron wants. In any case, France appears quite happy about FDP not governing Germany, because Lindner barely stomachs Macron’s efforts to revitalize the EU.

Now what?

Counting the possibilities for a breakthrough from the current Berlin deadlock there aren’t many. Last Tuesday, Bundeskanzlerin said she would prefer a new legislative election than a minority government. It’s not her style to ask a lot of people for every single legislative item she wants the Bundestag to pass. If she is soon to exit politics she probably prefers to be remembered as she was until today; a calm force able to offer results on a national and global basis.

The four-partite government coalition between the two Christian parties (CDU/CSU) plus the Liberals and the Greens, was definitely excluded last weekend. The next possibility to form a government from the present parliament is the extension of the CDU/CSU ‘grand’ coalition with the socialists of the SPD party. Since 2005 the Christian Democratic Union and her Bavarian sister Christian Social Union together with the Socialists have governed Germany for eight years, in two out of the three parliamentary periods. The last time was from 2013 till now.

The ball in SPD’s court

Together they brought the country from the least enviable position of the ‘European Patient’ of 2005, to today’s well oiled export machine. However, they are both paying a heavy political price for their austere fiscal policies and the deregulation of a well protected labor market. For the Socialists the political cost was even greater. The party had to abandon its labor class roots and support the center-right neoliberal policies in government finance and labor market legislation.

For this reason exactly, Martin Schulz, the President of SPD has ruled out a new four-year term in government with the Christian groups. After Merkel’s failure last Sunday to form a four-partite administration, Schulz rushed to say “We do not shy away from new elections”. Obviously, in this way he was overruling the possibility of a new ‘grand coalition’ government, which can probably ruin SPD’s possibility to win an election for the foreseeable future. The very next day Merkel also appeared to favor a new election in the next few months, and remain as an interim Chancellor in the between.

Badly cornered

As things stand now, the two main political forces, the Christian unions and the Socialists are in a very difficult spot. If the next elections were to take place this Sunday – according to a number of polls – both those political formations would lose something compared to their showing on 24 September elections.

As a result, a new vote can very possibly further strengthen the extreme right, xenophobic, anti-European almost fascist Alternative for Germany party (AfD). Those populists got 13% two months ago and formed a massive group of deputies in the Bundestag. They may be more of them there after a new election. Yet, the Christians and the Socialists both seem to agree on a new election soon. But let’s see if this is to their benefit.

Why a new vote?

In case they form one more ‘grand coalition’ government, it’s highly possible their problems will become less pressing. This is mainly because the immigration issue, which cost them a lot of votes last September, may be resolved or forgotten after four more prosperous years. This is especially true for Angela Merkel’s CDU and the CSU Bavarian sister. For the Socialists, the fall of their electoral showing is not primarily related to immigration. Their political losses are more related to their following of neoliberal policies in finance and the labor market.

This old sting will continue making them bleed. In reality, if they want to survive as a major political party they have better avoid a new coalition government with Merkel. The same is true for all the European socialist parties. A standard example of this sequence of events is the quasi disappearance of the once powerful PASOK socialist party of Greece. After a few austerity years in a coalition government with the center – right New Democracy, PASOK has disappeared and parts of its leadership have joined other political groups.

In short, the problems of the German socialists are exactly of this kind, that is, sharing the burden of neoliberal policies. That’s why Schulz rushed to say the SPD won’t participate in a new ‘grand coalition’ government with Merkel. However, he is strongly pressed to ‘serve Germany’ rather than the party. The German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a socialist himself, indirectly favors the formation of a ‘grand coalition’ government though.

Saved by the socialists

It’s not the first time the German socialists are serving their country first. In 2005 the then powerful Chancellor Gerhard Schröder caused his own fall, in order to promote a much needed groundbreaking economic growth program his party was refusing to adopt. After the early election of 18 September 2005, this program was applied in the subsequent legislative period by a ‘grand coalition’ Christian – Socialist government under Merkel and saved Germany from marasmus.

Not at all unlikely then a ‘grand coalition’ government is finally formed again in Berlin, by the two major political groups of Germany. In such an eventuality, it will be also a surprise if Merkel continues holding the Chancellorship. Schröder didn’t participate in the 2005 -2009 government at all. If the SPD is to participate in the next government, the Socialists will very probably ask Merkel to step down. They need a conspicuous sign that they actually can change things.

All in all, in one way or another, Germany has being stained and Berlin is not famous for easy ways out from political stalemates.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Eurozone: Negative statistics bring deflation and recession closer

Bayer’s cross at night (Copyright: Bayer AG)

The EU clears Bayer-Monsanto merger amid wide competition and environmental concerns

‘Negative forces’ at work in DR Congo threaten ‘largely peaceful’ relations across Great Lakes region, says outgoing UN envoy

All sides in Yemen conflict could be guilty of war crimes, UN experts find

EU and China discuss economic and trade relations at the 7th High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue

5 factors driving the Chinese lawtech boom

5 ways to bridge the global health worker shortage

Service and Sacrifice: Ugandan ‘Blue Helmets’ support UN efforts to bring peace to Somalia

100 years on, UN labour agency mission focussed on growing inequality, says Director-General

Groundbreaking cancer-fighting drugs now included in updated UN list of essential medicines

Parliament makes it easier to organise a European Citizens’ Initiative

Large parts of the world are growing more fragile. Here are 5 steps to reverse course

Finnish Prime Minister calls for a more united EU of concrete actions

A new way to teach active citizenship to students?

The four top Americans who flew to Europe perplexed things about Trump’s intentions

This is what the gender pay gap looks like in eight countries

MWC 2016 LIVE: Xiaomi looks to revive growth with flagships

Mobile 360 Africa 11-13 July 2017

‘Virginity testing’: a human rights violation, with no scientific basis – UN

Latest tragedy in the Mediterranean claims over 100 lives – UN refugee agency

Preserving biodiversity vital to reverse tide of climate change, UN stresses on International Day

Korea should adapt its migration programmes to ensure continued success in the face of expected challenges

EU gas market: new rules agreed will also cover gas pipelines entering the EU

Afghanistan: Bring ‘architects’ of latest ‘appalling’ suicide bombing to justice, says deputy UN mission chief

The European Parliament x-rays the troika’s doings

Hiring more female leaders is good for profits. Here’s the evidence

A Valentine’s Special: we can never overdose on love

Russia accepts what the EU has to offer and settles to negotiate with Ukraine

This Netherlands football stadium creates its own energy and stores it in electric car batteries

We probably should go back to the therapy in Primary Healthcare

Global Compact on Refugees: How is this different from the migrants’ pact and how will it help?

European Commission: Does Apple, Starbucks and Fiat really pay their taxes?

Corporate tax remains a key revenue source, despite falling rates worldwide

The megatrend that will shape our working future

Why rich countries are seeing more poverty

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

GradList Launched At TheNextWeb 2014

Here’s why leaders need to care about mental health

Haiti stands ‘at the crossroads’ between peacekeeping, development – Bachelet urges strengthened ‘human rights protection’

Joint UN, OSCE engagement can address crisis in Ukraine, other ‘dark spots of conflict’ in Europe

Basel III rules relaxed: Banks got it all but become more prone to crisis

Two major EU projects falter; the Schengen Agreement now freezes and Eurozone fails to resolve the Greek enigma

What has a year of experiments taught us about basic income?

Who can compel Wallonia to unlock CETA, the EU-Canada free trade pack?

Eurozone: GDP development heads to naught; the expensive euro serves only Germany

Europe, US and Russia haggle over Ukraine’s convulsing body; Russians and Americans press on for an all out civil war

Anti-vaccination movement affecting youth in Europe

Chatterbox Rome Declaration cannot save the EU; Germany has to pay more to do that

Turkey: MEPs cut support by €70m due to no improvement in respect for EU values

Innovating together: connectivity that matters

Future of EU farming: MEPs push for modern common policy with fair funding

France is about to start giving free breakfasts to disadvantaged schoolchildren

Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it

Why Eurozone needs a bit more inflation

Children in crisis-torn eastern Ukraine ‘too terrified to learn’ amid spike in attacks on schools

US and Mexico child deportations drive extreme violence and trauma: UNICEF

The Commission unsuccessfully pretends to want curbing of tax evasion

Millennials (and Gen X) – Here are the steps you should take to secure your financial future

New Disability Inclusion Strategy is ‘transformative change we need’, says Guterres

Nuclear weapons in Lithuania: defence against Russia or target for terrorists?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s