The abrupt resignation of the leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) after disastrous European and regional elections has thrown the future of the ‘grand coalition’ with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives into doubt. The government looks set to limp on until elections in three former Communist eastern states in September and October. But if the SPD and Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) do badly, the risk of a government collapse would increase sharply. The SPD, led by an interim triumvirate for the next few months, will later this year pick a new leader and review its role in the coalition. To reinvent itself in opposition and win back defectors from the resurgent Greens, the SPD may, under a new leader, ditch its marriage with Merkel. Here are the main scenarios for Germany if the coalition between the conservative bloc and SPD collapses: NEW ELECTION The option most analysts are talking about, a snap election before the next scheduled one in 2021, poses enormous risks for the conservatives and SPD. Merkel has said she will not stand for a fifth term as chancellor. The conservative bloc of the CDU and its Bavarian CSU sister party is polling at 26%-29%, below their 2017 election result. Merkel’s heir apparent Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has failed to boost the CDU’s ratings since taking over as its leader in December. The SPD faces decimation, at 12%-17% in polls, paying the price for sharing power as Merkel’s junior partners for six years and 10 of the last 14. A
Germany’s Angela Merkel, who has headed the CDU for 18 years, had until now always indicated that she believed the posts of party leader and chancellor should be held by the same person.
“She will not stand again for the chairmanship of her party,” a source within the Christian Democratic Union said.
“The Khashoggi case bluntly shows what kind of regime we’re talking about. Doing business with these corrupt regimes which constantly violates human rights is a huge mistake,” she said.
“All new (arms) sales should not be allowed to Saudi Arabia at the moment,” said Bodil Valero, another MEP from Sweden who sits on the Parliament’s subcommittee on security and defence.
The leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Bavarian allies said on Monday that his Christian Social Union (CSU) would do what it could to ensure the federal government remained stable after the party suffered humiliating losses in an election in Bavaria. “We will do our bit to ensure that the grand coalition can continue to do its work in a stable manner despite some of the comments that were made yesterday,” said Horst Seehofer, who is also Germany’s interior minister.
Bavarians were voting Sunday in a state election that was expected to deal the prosperous region’s long-dominant conservative party a stinging setback, with unpredictable consequences for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s federal government.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel: “Of course I hope for a good result for the CSU. I know we don’t live in easy times. Otherwise I’m waiting for the result.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel: “Almost 80 years ago, on the pogrom night of November 9, Jews in Germany faced unimaginable hate and violence. This was followed by unprecedented crimes against civilization in the form of the Shoah. Germany has a perpetual responsibility to remember those crimes and to confront anti-Semitism, xenophobia, hate and violence.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan conceded little ground on issues dividing their countries after meeting Friday, but both leaders stressed the importance of the two NATO allies working together as they sought to improve acrimonious relations.
“With the mutual trust we have for each other, I believe the handing over of (suspects) would make our work easier,” Erdogan said, adding that their return “is important from a security point of view for the peace and welfare of our countries.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel hopes a new immigration law will make it easier for foreign workers to find jobs in Germany, but her push to fill a record number of vacancies risks angering voters who still resent her open-door refugee policy. “Companies should not be leaving the country because they can’t find staff,” Merkel said, adding that many entrepreneurs were more concerned about hiring skilled workers than getting tax relief.
A scandal over migrants being chased through the streets has exposed a rift between Angela Merkel and Germany’s security establishment that is dividing her coalition and hindering efforts to contain the fall-out from her “open door” refugee policy. Now, Merkel is caught between her Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), which backs Maassen, and her other coalition partner, the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD), who say he has lost credibility and must go.