Friday, January 12, 2018

The "Maybe" Coaltion

What German news reports today is that the CDU-CSU-SPD meeting ended in the early morning hours, and a coalition draft agreement is existing.

No one is really applauding.

First, it's 28 pages total.  For the 2005 CDU-CSU-SPD coalition agreement, there were 136 pages.  For the 2009 CDU-CSU-FDP agreement, it was 100 pages.  For the 2013 election results, the CDU-CSU-SPD agreement was 119 pages.  So with 28 pages, it means there's a limited amount of agreement, and you will find various occasions where the SPD will not work in a consolidated effort.  In simple terms, there's a much higher chance of a new election occurring before the mandated election.  It also means friction will exist on a daily and weekly basis, on topics that you should have worked out a scripted agreement.

Second, it's something that the SPD leadership has to present to the core membership and ask for a vote.  There is some speculation that the youth faction within the SPD will say NO.  If the negative stance is taken, then the work for a coalition agreement accomplishes nothing.  There will be no coalition in this case.   

Third, who runs what cabinet ministries?  Unknown.  This has yet to be released to the public.

Germans have sat and watched for almost a hundred days as this coalition-building exercise was played out.  To be honest, if you asked most working-class Germans....I'd suggest that fifty-percent don't really care or rate this as one of their top fifty problems in life to worry about. 

Typically, this coalition agreement is a fairly complex situation and it binds the parties to argue less in public settings.  There's a script, and you agree to abide by the script.  This being 20-percent of what existed in 2005? It means a marginal or limited script.

So I don't suggest that the next four years will be anything like the past three periods of German government.  I think it'll be robust and hyper-active.  A lot of public forum TV time will be spent by political groups explaining their position and all aiming toward some dynamic 2019 EU election and a 2021 German national election. 

And if the SPD organizational groups say 'NO'?  Well, the two scenarios are simple then....either you have another election or you (the CDU-CSU) run a minority government.  Right now, neither the SPD or CDU really care to have another election (they'd both likely lose two or three points off their last results).  As for the minority government idea?  It's OK....but it'll mean a marginal government facing tough arguments. 

Yeah....if you imagine this as being a messy end-solution....that pretty much sums up the whole situation. 

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