German election: Scholz prepares ground for ‘traffic light coalition', inviting Greens and FDP to talks


Olaf Scholz holds a bouquet of flowers at their party leadership meeting, a day after the election

– Reuters

The contours of the next German government began to take shape on Tuesday when the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) – who came out on top in Sunday’s parliamentary elections – extended an offer to meet leaders of the Greens and liberal Free Democrats to explore the creation of a three-party coalition.

Moving to defy ominous speculation of a months-long period of uncertainty in Germany, the SPD fancies itself as the “choice of the people” to lead the next government after winning 25.7 per cent of the vote on Sunday, an increase of 5.2 percentage points from the last election in 2017. To achieve a majority of seats in parliament, the SPD is eager to patch together a coalition of “election winners” together with the Greens, who gained 6.4 points to 14.8 per cent and the FDP, which rose 0.8 point to 11. per cent.

The only trouble is that the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) have stubbornly refused to concede defeat – reminding some in Germany of Donald Trump’s anti-democratic behaviour after the 2020 US elections. The CDU/CSU hasn’t congratulated Scholz even though retiring chancellor Angela Merkel’s party lost nearly 9 percentage points to end up behind the SPD with just 24.1 per cent. Party leader Armin Laschet hopes to somehow lure the Greens and FDP into a three-party coalition with him – entirely legal, yet morally questionable.

“We’ve invited the Greens and FDP to meet this week, if they’d like, to start exploratory talks,” said Rolf Mutzenich, the newly elected leader of the enlarged SPD parliamentary group. “We’re ready. Not only ready for a quick start but also ready to have reliably concrete talks.”

The Greens and FDP had already stolen some of the thunder a day earlier when they announced they planned to meet together first to explore what their common interests are – and chart out a joint strategy to be able to present to the two rival larger parties that are eager to win their favour.

After the 2017 German elections it took nearly six months, to March 2018, for a new government to take power – because talks for a possible “Jamaica coalition” collapsed after more than a month of detailed negotiations. All the parties want to avoid such a prolonged process and debacle of collapsed talks this time. That’s one reason why the smart money is betting that the two smaller and more dynamic parties – the Greens and FDP – are taking control of the process this time and they will probably want to move quickly and have a new government in place within a month or so.

Normally, the smaller parties wait around for a larger party to offer coalition talks. But together the Greens and FDP won a total of 26.3 per cent of the vote, or 0.6 points more than the SPD, and will have more seats in parliament.

Here is a look at the range of outcomes from the upcoming coalition talks and possible coalition combinations that could emerge:

Most likely outcome: ‘traffic light coalition’

The SPD, Greens and FDP could start exploratory talks this week and full-fledged coalition negotiations in the next week or so for a so-called Ampelkoalition or “traffic light coalition”.

The name comes from the parties’ banner colours – red for the SPD, green for the Greens and yellow for the pro-business FDP. There has never been an Ampelkoalition at the national level before, which makes this all unchartered territory. There have been some such coalitions at the state level – some collapsed in the 1990s and early Noughties, but Rhineland-Palatinate has had a successful Ampel for years.

The SPD and Greens could probably get a quick deal together on their own within a few weeks, but without a third party they don’t have enough seats for a majority. They would need the FDP this time. The pro-business, anti-tax FDP is more comfortable with the CDU/CSU, with whom it shared power at the national level from 2009-2013. It clearly expressed a preference for the CDU/CSU before the election but pragmatic, smooth-talking chair Christian Lindner is eager to get back into government after eight years as a small, insignificant opposition party.

© Provided by The Independent Christian Lindner, chair of the FDP, could be offered the role of finance minister as a sweetener (EPA)

The “Traffic Light Coalition” is the preferred choice of voters in opinion polls. It would also represent a coalition made up of the three parties that gained votes in this election – from 5.2 percentage points for the SPD and 6.4 points gain for the Greens and an increase of 0.8 points for the FDP.

Look for the SPD and Greens to offer FDP leader Lindner the powerful finance ministry job as bait to join the coalition and probably promise not to raise taxes: they want to, but the FDP certainly doesn’t.

Less likely outcome: ‘Jamaica coalition’

This would be a coalition made up of the CDU/CSU – the losers on Sunday – together with the Greens and FDP. It’s called Jamaica because the party colours – black, green, yellow – match those of the Jamaican national flag.

This coalition has never been tried at the national level either, but it came close to taking power four years ago, until the FDP’s Lindner dramatically broke off the talks late one night after a month of negotiations. Both his popularity and that of his party nosedived after that – and it left the country rudderless for another three months.

© Provided by The Independent Greens party co-leader Robert Habeck is unlikely to want to share power with the CDU/CSU (Reuters)

The Greens have made it clear before and after the election that they are not interested in a deal with the CDU/CSU. Not only is the CDU/CSU ideologically further away from the Greens than the SPD, but the Greens blame the conservatives for the stagnation that has crippled Germany in recent years. Greens chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock said in debates that the CDU/CSU belongs in opposition. But the Greens have cleverly not shut the door entirely on a Jamaica coalition in order to maintain some leverage against the SPD.

The drift in sentiment away from “Jamaica” has become more palpable after the election and the CDU/CSU smell and sound more and more like the big losers. Had the CDU/CSU finished even with the SPD or a fraction of a percentage point behind the SPD, such a coalition might have been easier to imagine than it is now. Yet Laschet is desperate to make Jamaica work because he might be out of his job as party chair otherwise. So expect him to pull out all the stops to lure the Greens and FDP into bed with him.

Rather unlikely coalition: ‘grand coalition’

This was called a “grand coalition” back in the day when the CDU/CSU and SPD were large, big-tent parties with between 35-50 per cent of the vote. Both have shrunken to the mid-20s – in part because there is so much voter disenchantment with the two parties that shared power in loveless alliances over 12 of the last 16 years.

This is unlikely to happen because the SPD has made it abundantly clear it is done with the CDU/CSU. Merkel has siphoned support from the SPD over the last 16 years – she has pilfered many of their best ideas and sold them as her own. Also making this unlikely is that it is hard to imagine the CDU/CSU joining forces with the SPD as their junior coalition partners. It’s never happened before at the national level and is hard to imagine it ever happening,

Ain’t gonna happen: ‘Red-Red-Green’

Progressives had hoped that the three left-of-centre parties could form a so-called “Red-Red-Green” coalition made up of the SPD, Greens and far-left Linke party that traces its roots to the communist SED party responsible for the Berlin Wall and decades of communist suppression in East Germany. But the Linke, only popular in the east, fell to below 5 per cent and will only have a handful of seats in parliament due to a quirk in the laws allowing it representation because its candidates won three constituencies outright – all in east Berlin. This far-left coalition will not be possible because the Linke’s fall means there are not enough seats for a majority.

From news to politics, travel to sport, culture to climate – The Independent has a host of free newsletters to suit your interests. To find the stories you want to read, and more, in your inbox, click here.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


Grasshoppers schaffen spektakuläre Wende, Zürich schlägt zurück

© KEYSTONE/ENNIO LEANZA Die Grasshoppers und der FC Zürich trennen sich in einem spektakulären Zürcher Derby 3:3. Damit verpasst der FCZ den vorübergehenden Sprung an die Tabellenspitze. Nein, Anlaufzeit brauchten ... Read more »

Hamilton: Mercedes ‘fell back a little bit' through US GP qualifying

© Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12 Hamilton and Mercedes set a blistering early pace in practice on Friday at the Circuit of The Americas, but Red ... Read more »

Kerala contests HC scholarship order in Supreme Court

© Provided by The Times of India THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala government has approached the Supreme Court against the high court order quashing the government scheme to provide minority scholarships to ... Read more »

Tripura attack: TMC gives cops 12 hours to arrest culprits

© Provided by The Statesman Tripura attack: TMC gives cops 12 hours to arrest culprits Tripura Trinamul Congress steering committee members along with Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen and state ... Read more »

Dubai diaries: Exploring the world through tea in UAE

© Provided by Khaleej Times Dubai diaries: Exploring the world through tea in UAE Growing up in Britain there were traditionally only two types of tea: with sugar, or without. ... Read more »

UK plans 8 billion pounds of extra health and education spending

By David Milliken © Reuters/Hannah Mckay FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak meets U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in London LONDON (Reuters) -British finance minister Rishi Sunak ... Read more »

Majority of Americans Mistakenly Believe Violent Crime Worse Now Than 30 Years Ago: Poll

A majority of Americans mistakenly believe that violent crime rates are worse today than they were 30 years ago, according to a new poll. © Christopher Furlong/Getty Images A majority ... Read more »

Microsoft reverses controversial .NET change after open source community outcry

© Image by Alex Castro / The Verge Microsoft is reversing a decision to remove a key feature from its upcoming .NET 6 release, after a public outcry from the ... Read more »

Erdogan says 10 ambassadors who backed activist are 'persona non grata' in Turkey

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said 10 ambassadors, including those from the US and France, were “persona non grata” after they issued a statement in support of a jailed ... Read more »

James Corden jokes Adele is 'difficult to buy for'

© Bang Showbiz James Corden James Corden has joked Adele is a “difficult person” to buy gifts for. The chart-topping singer recently revealed that James gave her a used piece ... Read more »

Meghan McCain didn't feel her voice was welcome on The View

© Bang Showbiz Meghan McCain Meghan McCain didn’t always feel welcome on ‘The View’. The 37-year-old TV personality starred on the daytime talk-show until earlier this year, but she didn’t ... Read more »

Edward Rogers's attempt to name new directors goes against B.C. law, telecom says

© Patrick Morrell/CBC Rogers Communications headquarters are seen in Toronto on Friday. Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI) says it rejected an attempt by former chair Edward Rogers to name a slate of ... Read more »

Super PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump

Two super PACs released an ad campaign that criticizing Republican Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance for past comments he made about former President Trump. © The Hill Super PACs release ... Read more »

Hurricane Rick forecast to reach major strength ahead of landfall in Mexico

Hurricane Rick, which intensified overnight Friday from a tropical storm, is forecast to grow to major hurricane strength upon its expected landfall on Mexico’s southwestern Pacific coast, according to the National ... Read more »

Ohio's new license plate got the Wright Bros' plane backward on design

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo The Buckeye State became the cockeyed state after botching the design of the iconic Wright Brothers plane while rolling out its new license ... Read more »

'Bringing Up Bates' Star Nathan Is Married to Esther Keyes

© Provided by US Weekly Bringing Up Bates’ Nathan Bates Is Married to Esther Keyes When you know, you know! Nathan Bates and Esther Keyes tied the knot on Saturday, ... Read more »

United States Grand Prix 2021: Max Verstappen takes pole position in gripping qualifying session

© Getty Images MaxVerstappen2310A.jpg Max Verstappen moved into pole in a dramatic finish ahead of the United States Grand Prix qualifying. The Dutchman earned his ninth pole of the season ... Read more »

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou reveals how Hibs' Martin Boyle left him “pretty pleased”

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou won’t need anyone to tell him that Martin Boyle will be one of the major threats when on Wednesday his team seek to end the club’s ... Read more »

All Blacks pile 104 points on USA in ruthless display

New Zealand got back to their winning ways as they romped to a 104-14 victory over the United States on Saturday in Washington during a test match in which the ... Read more »

Lewis Hamilton explains 'struggles' in qualifying as Max Verstappen on top ahead of US GP

Lewis Hamilton admits he was “struggling” in Austin after qualifying second on the grid ahead of the United States Grand Prix, with the seven-time world champion trailing Max Verstappen by ... Read more »

UFC 270 fight card: Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane, Brandon Moreno vs. Deiveson Figueiredo 3 set to headline

After it was previously rumored that Francis Ngannou would defend his heavyweight championship against interim titleholder Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 on Jan. 22, the promotion confirmed the event during ... Read more »

10 Of The Best Dog Birthday Cards For The Dog Lovers In Your Life

© Zazzle We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, ... Read more »

Illinois outlasts Penn State in record-breaking nine overtime win

Illinois finally finished the game that would never end.  It took 60 minutes of regulation, two overtime periods starting at the 25-yard line, and seven periods made up of two-point ... Read more »

The 20 Favorite Tax Havens of the Very Wealthy

Companies and wealthy individuals can legally keep money in tax havens, while avoiding higher taxes at home. And some tax havens are more popular than others. © Mike Coppola/Getty Images ... Read more »

All secrets in the After the Fall chapter of House of Ashes

© Provided by GamePur There are plenty of secrets to find in The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes. In fact, you will be able to find 50 secrets scattered ... Read more »

EU Ambassador visits Baguio City

© The Manila Times European Union Ambassador Luc Veron. Photo courtesy from Twitter account BAGUIO CITY : The delegation of European Union Ambassador Luc Veron visited the Summer Capital and ... Read more »

Snooky Serna on politics: "Hindi ko gusto."; will support bf's congressional bid

© Provided by Kahit na maraming artista ang tatakbo sa darating na May 2022 elections, walang balak si Snooky Serna na subuking pasukin ang mundo ng pulitika.  Kuwento ng ... Read more »

Ahead of Goa trip, Mamata issues call for parties to unite to take on BJP

© Provided by The Statesman Ahead of Goa trip, Mamata issues call for parties to unite to take on BJP Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, prior to her maiden visit ... Read more »

Bigg Boss 15, 23rd October 2021, Written Update: Hina And Maniesh grace the show

© Provided by Pinkvilla In today’s episode of Bigg Boss 15’s task, Karan was rated 100% original, Shamita as 50-50 and Jay as 100% fake, by the rest of the ... Read more »

Jeremy Kyle finally marries fiancée Vicky Burton after cancelling wedding six times

Jeremy Kyle has married his partner of four years, Vicky Burton, after previously cancelling their wedding day six times. The 56 year old former TV talk show host wed his ... Read more »

Covid news: NHS doctors warn of looming crisis as PM told to do ‘more than boosters' to avoid lockdown

© PA PA-62475890.jpg LIVE – Updated at 23:01 Doctors, nurses and other NHS staff have spoken out to warn the health service is facing a catastrophe, despite health secretary Sajid ... Read more »

Rishi Sunak to invest £3bn in skills and education to help workers get better-paid jobs

© PA Wire Rishi Sunak is to deliver the budget next week (Stefan Rousseau/PA) – PA Wire Rishi Sunak will announce £3 billion of investment into skills and education in ... Read more »

Finn Harps hit two late goals to grab draw against Sligo

© Evan Logan INPHO File photo of Finn Harps’ Sean Boyd. Finn Harps 2 Sligo Rovers 2 Alan Foley reports from Ballybofey FINN HARPS PULLED an unlikely point from the ... Read more »

Why Real Housewives Of New York's Eboni K. Williams Thinks She Would Make A Great Permanent Host For The View

© Provided by CinemaBlend screenshot rhny Following Meghan McCain’s departure in July, The View has been filling the post with a circulating slate of temporary co-hosts. Pundits such as Caitlyn ... Read more »

'Rust' director Joel Souza says he's 'gutted' by the shooting death of Halyna Hutchins

© (Jim Spellman / Getty Images) “Rust” director Joel Souza broke his silence after death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. (Jim Spellman / Getty Images) “Rust” director Joel Souza has broken ... Read more »

GoFundMe for 'Rust' Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins' Family Tops $120K in First 24 Hours

A fundraiser for cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’ family raised over $120,000 within 24 hours after its launch. © Local 600 GoFundMe page Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (above) was fatally shot by a ... Read more »

Manchester United vs. Liverpool: Time, TV, streaming, betting odds for Premier League match

There’s nothing like a Premier League rivalry match with massive stakes. That’s what fans will be treated to when Manchester United hosts Liverpool on Matchday 9 of the English Premier ... Read more »

‘Love Life' Season 2 Star William Jackson Harper on Anthology Shifting Perspective From White Woman to Black Man

© HBO Max William Jackson Harper Love Life Season 2 HBO Max’s “Love Life” launches its second season Thursday, with an installment that shifts its romantic focus from Anna Kendrick’s ... Read more »

A beginner's guide to all things COP26

World leaders and negotiators are preparing to head to Glasgow, Scotland for what is expected to be the most ambitious meeting yet, beginning October 31 until November 12. As the ... Read more »

Defence Secretary must launch probe into possible cover-up of murder – Labour

© PA Archive Labour demands inquiry The Government should investigate any possible “cover-up” relating to the murder of a Kenyan woman whose body was found in a septic tank close ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic