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Germany is not the calm nation the world was used to

The election carried out in Germany last year in September opened the floodgates which has filled the future with uncertainness. The results confirmed the trends that were in the making for some time now and that leave the country with a giant parliament of 709 congressmen and six political parties.

In political terms the results are very relevant:

  • The immense loss of votes of the Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU respectively) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), obtaining the lowest votes since the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • The worrying votes achieved by an extreme right party with nationalist-chauvinist and xenophobic representatives which for the first time have a seat in parliament since 1949.

Therefore the trend of loss of votes of center parties in Europe is now confirmed and the massive vote towards the right is something that needs to be followed with much attention.

The party of Democratic Christian Angela Merkel claimed having obtained two goals with the electoral results: block a leftist collation with possibilities of taking office and that their party continues to govern.

Certainly, the left could not achieve a majority coalition and any coalition would have to include Merkel’s party, and despite the losses, it still obtained the highest vote.

Undoubtedly, according to the world press, these elections would have a bearing on great European issues such as:

  • Renovating the European Union (EU) after Brexit
  • The relationship towards difficult governments in Budapest and Warsaw
  • The refugee issue
  • The policy towards Russia.

Therefore the continuity of Merkel was expected. However, the results of the election constrained the negotiations regarding possible government coalitions.

Repeating a collation between the SPD and CDU, although possible and even desirable for many, for the sake of stability, would turn into a political suicide for the social democracy, due to the reduced votes achieved and the loss of great part of the blue collar vote. Its president Martin Schulz rapidly understood the results and on the same night of the elections, he declared himself as an oppositor.

According to recent surveys, there is only one possible coalition. A coalition between the CDU/CSU), the liberals (FDP) and the green party (Die Grünen), known as Jamaica for the colors of its flag, which has the colors of the three parties.

This alliance was grim from the beginning as it is between parties of antagonistic views and expressed in divergent liberal positions in regards to migration or governance of the Eurozone or that of the green party against participation of the German army in hot areas such as northern Iraq or Afghanistan, or the project regarding a fast way out of using fossil fuels.

They were facing a scenario were the political parties did not want to lose their identity in front of their constituents and that, in case of the liberals, jeopardize its return to parliament after been voted out in the past elections.

The surveys that began immediately were thwarted in November with the exit of the liberals, a failure that for Germany and Europe has exponentially increased the uncertainness opened with the result of the elections.

As reported by a concerned international and German press, Germany is entering a stage that will result in a great social-democracy coalition, a minority government or a call for new elections.

The three alternatives are difficult, the pressure over the social-democratic party is enormous, but the party is resisting due to the political costs is represents having an alliance with the democratic christians for the third straight time.

Germany has never had a minority government and having one now would mean, among other things, that Angela Merkel would have to approve in Parliament every decision taken by the European Union, a weak political base for a central country in Europe.

The last alternative is having new elections, considered by many of the parties and political personalities as the worst solution possible. Therefore, the Federal President, social-democrat Frank-Walter Steinmeier, is having conversations with all political parties trying to force renewing the Jamaica conversations or for a great coalition to avoid a possible minority government or call for new elections.

In the meantime, Angela Merkel will continue to act as interim chancellor and head of an interim government. And although German politics has mechanisms in place  that ensure stability until the situation is cleared, the truth is that Germany is now facing failure, looking to form a government which according to all the parties, could not be carried out this year due to the programmatic differences and the wear caused by the recent electoral campaigns.

The intricate future situation for Germany will bring instability to the European Union. The hope for a renovation of Europe around a French-German axis are reduced with a strong French President, which in a September speech spoke about a daring European Eurozone reform project, but with a weakened economy and internal social resistance which is now being expressed and an also weakened German Chancellor, the future looks bleak.

The European Union was expecting a stable and strong German government, not only for its strong economic muscle, but also because Merkel had assumed a strong leadership role which nobody had shown before, although this had begun to change with Emmanuel Macron.

The truth is that there are current great European tensions such as:

  • The economic crisis due to high prices for the average European
  • The pressure from right wing administrations such as Viktor Orbán of Hungary and Jaroslaw Kaczynski from Poland.
  • The Catalan independent movement
  • The Brexit
  • The renovation of the EU

On the international front, they also need to face the policies of Trump, Putin, and Erdogan, just to mention three tension points. Therefore, although it can reach a positive result in the coming months, Germany is no longer the political steady country that the world was used to.

 

 

Consejo Editorial