Sunday, September 18, 2005

If the exit polls that were published after the German elections ended tonight are right, one of the most difficult jobs in Europe in the next few weeks ( or months ) could very well be that of the person(s) who has/have to build a governing coalition for the country. The social-democrats were basically voted out of power ( although less dramatically than was expected when the election campaign started ), but the christian-democrats lost only one percent less than the party of the outgoing Bundeskanzler, which makes them the biggest party by only one percent. Not really a clear mandate for radical changes, I would say. The Greens lost a little, and the liberals gained between 2 and 3 percent, which would make a CDU-FDP-Green coalition possible, although I cannot seriously imagine someone like Joshka Fischer serving in a government with christian-democrats and liberals. On the other hand, why not? Many have been pleasantly surprised by him as a foreign minister; it might make sense if he continued that job, especially since the worsening in German-American relations was hardly his fault, and rebuilding those relations should be one of the priorities of whatever government comes out of the coalition talks. Still, it will be hard for Fischer and for his party to support some of the changes in socio-economic policy planned by Angela Merkel, in particular because the SDP and the "Lefts" ( a party that is hardly taken into account in any serious commentary on possible coalitions ) will fiercely oppose most such changes, as will many Green voters, party members and activists.

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