Monday, September 19, 2005
So Now The Minnows Rule
For those who are interested, Spiegel has a pretty good article in English about the possibility for various party coalitions. The bottom line is that neither of the two main parties in Germany (CDU/CSU or SPD) is in a strong position:
...this means that in the next German parliament, or Bundestag as it is called here, the Christian Democrats will have slightly more seats than the Social Democrats, with 225 and 222 seats respectively. The FDP will have 61, the Left Party 54 and the Greens 51.The vote percentages are even tighter, with the CDU/CSU getting 35.2 to the SPD's 34.3. (Leipzig hasn't voted yet.) In order to get the chancellorship, either Merkel or Schroeder needs a majority. This can only be done by an alliance between the two big parties or by forming a coalition with two of the smaller ones. If you arranged them on a right - left spectrum, the parties would be listed as FDP, CDU/CSU, SDP, Greens and Left Party. So you can see that there is no natural alliance between three parties unless it is SDP, Greens and the Left Party.
In this situation, the Left party gains an extraordinary amount of power to dictate policies. Stoiber of the CSU wants to pick up the Greens, but this seems unlikely. In some ways the Greens are more left than the Left party. They have a strong bias toward environmentalist wishful thinking. For example, they are still insisting that all of Germany's nuclear power plants be closed while disregarding totally the pressure on Germany generated by the Kyoto Economic Suicide Pact.
If the CDU and the SPD make a deal, Schroeder will insist upon retaining the chancellorship. This is, however, probably what will happen. Schroeder will then be immune to pressure from the Greens and the Left and probably will be able to continue his program of moderate reforms that have had little effect. The SDP had been allied with the Greens, and it is probable that partnership has gone as far as it can go.