Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Say what you like about the SPD, Germany’s ruling social-democrats, but they are intent on trying to survive the unsurvivabl of being kicked out of office in three weeks time. A report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has details on tomorrow’s release of the SPD’s main lection slogansand such like. Although this is to include the obviously unrealistic call for Schroeder to remain chancellor, it is notable, that there is no mention of coalition partners. As the faz-article reminds us, in 1998 the Red-Green alliance was clear from the outset, and in 2002 Schroeder and the Greens’ chief, foreign minister Joschka Fischer, even campaigned side by side. It is obvius that the SPD is keeping its options open for when Schroeder surely will depart soon. (Depressing though to see that Schroder’s biggest foreign policy fiasco, opposition to the regime change in Iraq, is to be one of their central platforms.)
The possibilty of a grand coalition between the SPD and the Christian-democrat CDU/CSU cannot be ruled out. If indeed the right-liberal FDP and Christian-Democrats have too few combined votes to achieve a majority, the "Grosse Koalition" will be the most likely option. (A red-red-green coalition is nigh on impossible as the Left Party is quite explicitly out to bash the SPD and has ruled out any cooperation.)
Some good may come of it however. Such a coalition would have the necessary amount of votes in the two parliamentary chambers to push through what meagre reforms they may agree on. That is of course, as long as such a coalition holds - which won’t be long. But the mess that such a government will inevitably end up in will certainly convince voters that they need to vote for real change. That change can only be delivered by a strong FDP, which is the only party in Germany which seriously promises to cut the red tape, the ever growing bureaucracy and the excessive tax rates that are holding back Germany’s much-needed economic recovery.