An Election Less Ordinary

Half a year ago, Chancellor Schröder proclaimed that the people of Germany are going to vote for a new government this year. At that time, the SPD had just about 24% support in the population. The CDU, on the other hand, was in high favor with about an absolute majority. It seemed to be all so clear, today’s election was supposed to show a clear way for the future. One side defiant, insisting on continuity, the other side proclaiming the Wechsel (change), dividing the bearskin before the bear was killed. It came all so different than everybody expected. Instead of a clear mandate, neither SPD nor CDU got the upper hand, but look yourself:

SPD CDU Green FDP Linke other
33,9%
35,3%
8,2%
10,2%
8,4%
3,9%
-4,6%
-3,2%
-0,4%
+2,8%
+4,4%
+-0%

The “red-green coalition” is no more. The SPD gained remarkable 10% in the last months before the election, but still failed to become the biggest faction in the Bundestag. The only way Gerhard Schröder will continue to govern Germany is by asking the FDP into the boat. They again, announced they would never do this. Angela Merkel’s CDU lost over 3% in comparison to 2002, which is certainly disappointing and they can’t form a coalition with the FDP as planned. What’s left to do? They won and lost this election, the mandate to form a government is theirs, but with who? The Green Party announced they would rather be in the opposition than form a government with CDU and FDP. So, it’s either the Green Party or the FDP, one of them will have to sell its soul and contradict themselves in their respective campaigns. Both parties would loose all credibility and very possibly be marginalized until 2009. Every party announced they would talk to everybody else, except to the Linke/PDS. They said they are going to work in the opposition. They have no other option, since they can’t abide a red-green coalition, it would contradict everything they stay for.

Which leaves us with a big coalition. A Chancellor Merkel with Schröder’s SPD? I don’t see it, but the numbers don’t leave even one other politically viable option.

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