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Germany fails to form a government

On September 24, Germany held their federal election to form a new parliament. In the two months since the election, a government has yet to be formed. No deal has been reached among the parties, whose potential union is the most viable option for a minority coalition government, leaving Germany with no real government.

Negotiations for this proposed coalition between The Free Democratic Party (FDP), Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU), and the Green Party, were tense from its inception. These negotiations involved two centre-right parties: the FDP and the CDU/CSU, and one the left-wing Green Party. After the FDP left negotiations, apparently because of disagreements with the Greens, Germany is left uncertain on how to form a stable government. In an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, the leader of the FDP, Christian Lindner, said the collations had “no ideas, no trust, no stability.”

Other Potential coalition governments include: the “GroKo” (grand coalition) between the CDU/CSU and centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD); however, after losing 40 seats in the September elections, SPD leader Martin Schultz declared that his party would not go into coalition with the CDU/CSU under Merkel again. There is also a potential for a “traffic light coalition,” a coalition of the SPD, FDP, and Greens; however, the FDP has already shown that it cannot work with Greens, rendering this union unlikely. An historic coalition between the CDU/CSU and either the FDP or the Greens, or even a coalition between the CDU/CSU and the the much opposed far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) could be formed. The CDU/CSU could also run a minority government alone, but Merkel has expressed concerns over a minority government, saying that a minority government does not posses the stability necessary to govern properly.

Alternatively the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, could call new elections, though these would likely not take place until February. Be that as it may, Steinmeier does not wish to call new elections, saying that the inability of parliament to form a coalition should not be pushed back to the people. Steinmeier, a member of the SPD, seems to favour renewing the grand coalition, and has been pressuring Schultz to do so, though he is also meeting with all party leaders in an attempt to find a solution.