The leader of the German Free Democratic Party (FDP) Christian Lindner announced that his party had walked out of the talks on the parliamentary coalition with the CDU/CSU alliance and Green Party.
“We do not blame anybody for sticking to their principles. But we also do so ourselves. We were voted for to reverse the current trends, but we could not reach an agreement. It is better not to govern than to govern badly,” Lindner tweeted shortly after German media announced the breakdown of “Jamaica” (due to the colours of the parties: black, yellow and green) coalition negotiations between the CDU, CSU, FDP and Greens.
If the talks had been successful, “Jamaica” would have got 393 of 709 seats in Bundestag (55%), but after the liberals walked away the other parties have only 44% of mandates and do not carry the majority.
German Social Democrats earlier on eliminated the possibility of their involvement in “grand coalition” with the CDU/CSU alliance – one more scenario that could lead to the creation of majority government (399 seats or 56%).
Meanwhile, the leaders of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) called on Angela Merkel to resign. “We think it is good that “Jamaica” coalition is not coming because it would have been a coalition of the status quo,” the head of the AfD Alexander Gauland said.
Angela Merkel herself said that together with her party fellows she will still “bear responsibility for the country”. “Will see how the situation will develop,” she said, mentioning that her party would contribute to the unity of the state by its own efforts.
German political analyst Alexander Rahr considers that Merkel’s failure to create a function government plunged Germany into a political crisis:
– Now the question arises how to proceed, which opportunities German constitution provides in this case, this extraordinary case, that Germany has never witnessed before. I think that reelection is the only option. It may take place in March or April next year. Then, German voters will have to express their opinion about the state of affairs judging from what they saw in recent weeks.
Probably, after the reelection to Bundestag, an opportunity to create a grand coalition of the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats will finally emerge. I see no other options.
From my point of view, the party may nominate another candidate, not Merkel. All the parties that did not manage to form a government recently will deal the same issue. They will look for guilty, hold discussions, they will face many problems. That is why, in case of reelection, the majority of these parties may participate with new candidates.
According to Rethinking Russia Director Alexander Konkov, in recent weeks it was obvious that even if the coalition talks ended with positive result, it would happen only due the fact that one of the partners would be starved into surrender:
– There were too many contradictions and issues that the parties could not come to a consensus about. This led to a negative result: one of the political forces decided to slam the door and not to experience pressure.
Most likely, this was caused by some internal factors. There were debates over the urgent agenda, including, in particular, the issue of refugees. This issue is the most important one to the voters. The FDP said that it was necessary to reconsider the policy in this sphere, to limit the influx of refugees, to introduce legal limits for those who had already come to the country.
They raised a question of those whose family members had already moved to Germany also coming to the country and gaining citizenship. There were fierce discussions over this issue. And this was not an outcome Angela Merkel wanted to achieve after 12 years in power. She is now preserving her position, she is an acting chancellor, so she was interested in the talks remaining open (even if there was no positive result). Since there are no formal restrictions on forming coalitions in Germany, usually, this was quite a quick procedure, but sometimes it took longer periods. But Lindner’s demarche spoils Merkel’s game, does not go in line with the scenarios most profitable for her.
It seems to me that now it will be interesting to observe how the situation will develop. Everybody expected that, despite the electoral dynamics’ changes all over the world, Germany will remain an island of stability. But experience has proven that any result is possible, including early election that will not affect Merkel’s results, the results of the CDU/CSU alliance.
The CSU, that operates only in Bavaria, also has some questions to Merkel who has shown there the lowest result ever. But there still will be attempts to preserve the existing status quo. Perhaps, a minority government will be formed. Those parties and opposition deputies who will be ready to support such a coalition may be involved. Probably, they will manage to attract other political players: the Social Democrats, who from the very beginning announced that they were joining opposition, came second. But still there is no stability at all now. And early election also may take place, if no agreement is reached till late December.
I would say that the demarche of the Free Democratic Party shows that exactly the FDP is interested in early elections. Neither Merkel nor CDU/CSU were interested in it to the same extent to which, for instance, the Alternative for Germany, that is only gaining its scores, was. But some other political parties may also make profit on it.
As for the CDU/CSU alliance, some omissions are now coming up, first of all, between the two parties themselves. The CSU does not support CDU’s left lean. The discussion is not so much about the leader as about the sentiments with which they should move forward. The discussion is about whether the party should stay true to its original principles or come to terms with the changes brought about by Angela Merkel’s policy.