Angela Merkel’s last chance

Angela Merkel’s leadership of Germany hangs in the balance as negotiations for a coalition government restarts after a major setback.

The failing of the negotiation for the new coalition government of Germany was a hard hit for Angela Merkel as the chancellor. Now, her whole career as chancellor hangs in the balance. However, after two weeks of uncertainty, the leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Martin Schulz, has offered to join the negotiations with Merkel. This is Merkel’s last chance to stay in her position as the chancellor.

The German federal election was on September 27th. Angela Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) got, as usual, the plurality of votes, but not the majority required to govern alone. As has happened in the past, she has to form a governing coalition with other parties. However, this year is different because previous partner, the SPD didn’t join the negotiations, so Merkel had to negotiate with two different parties to get a majority in the government. However on November 17th, one of the two two parties, which Merkel’s party is negotiating with, dropped out and left Merkel with a big problem. She can only accomplish what she has promised when her party has more than 50% of the votes. A recent article in the Atlantic identifies three alternatives from which she can choose to solve the problem and move forward.

The first one would be to govern Germany for the next four years with a minority, but Merkel is not likely to choose this option because she and her party would have to do a lot of promotion and deal-making for every new reform in order to collect the votes from other parties.

The second option would be to call a new election; however, she is under pressure from the president Steinmeier who doesn’t want a new election because in his opinion the parties have been given a mandate by the citizen of Germany and they have now the responsibility to implement their promises without ducking out.

Her third option would be that the SPD is joining the negotiations with the CDU which is happening right now but there is still the chance of failing. If that happens, Merkel would have only have two choices left.

Unlike some countries such as the U.S.A, Germany has many parties which control the legislative bodies. No single party every controls more than 50% of the votes, so coalition governments are the norm.

Angela Merkel has to choose one of these options because she is still the chancellor until the negotiations about a new coalition are over and a new government is built. The new  negotiations are going to start on the 5th of January and are expected to take around five days. These five days will decide what happens next with Germany. If the negotiations would fail, nobody knows what would happen next. After failing twice in negotiations, Merkel’s position as chancellor could be seriously in jeopardy.

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