Merkel’s potential coalition partners do not get alongby James Sloam / September 27, 2017 / Leave a comment
The German elections were expected to be a mundane affair. For months it was clear that the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) would remain the most powerful party and that Angela Merkel would remain Chancellor, matching Helmut Kohl’s historic achievement of four consecutive election victories. The result came as something of a shock. Despite their overall victory, the CDU/CSU, along with their competitor (and Grand Coalition partner) Social Democratic Party (SPD) experienced large losses compared to the last federal election in 2013.
Six parties crossed the 5 per cent threshold for parliamentary representation for the first time (up from four in 2013, and three for almost the entire period of the old West Germany, 1949-1990). Most problematic was the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which saw its support rocket in the wake of Merkel’s 2015 decision to take in a million refugees. Given the stated intention of the SPD not to re-enter government with the Christian Democrats, German politics has become a hell of a lot more complicated.