German ‘Grand Coalition’ could undermine the ‘Grand Coalition’

It appears that Angela Merkel’s early election threat has had the desired effect of bouncing the Social Democratic Party (SDP) towards forming another ‘Grand Coalition‘ with her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Commenting on talks between the SDP and Merkel’s CDU, SDP head Martin Schulz said on Wednesday:

I can’t tell you what the outcome of the talks will be, but I can assure you of one thing: that I will argue in favor of the best solutions for our country and that my party is aware of its political responsibility,

Agreement is by no means a done deal

An agreement is by no means a done deal. SDP party members have to agree the party’s participation in a coalition at their December 7-9 convention.

Reuters has also reported warnings from the CDU that the SDP should, “..refrain from drawing red lines on policy issues“. Health Minister Hermann Groehe a senior member of the CDU stated:

I recommend to all of us that we should not complicate the efforts to find a stable form of cooperation by publicly drawing red lines,

If an agreement is reached, then attention should be paid the the internal politics of the SDP as a possible source of instability for the coalition.

The 2017 Federal election results saw the CDU and SDP outflanked on the right and left respectively.

Germany is displaying the same signs of polarisation that’s taken hold in much of the western sphere.

According to Bloomberg only 36{3960e34902b17726ab2e917772ce8f42036738fd515a86e63f9152ec8ca0006d} of SDP members back a coalition. Clearly, a significant number of party members view participation as a threat.

Electoral considerations coupled with a perception of the failure of ‘centre ground’ policies could provoke a move to the left in the SDP.

If this proves the case there’s the possibility of one of two outcomes.

  1. A rupture between the party membership and a leadership committed to maintaining the coalition
  2. Or, under pressure from the membership the SDP presses for a more radical approach from its unwilling, stronger CDU partner

Either outcome could undermine the ‘Grand Coalition’.

Gary Hollands

Geopolitical analyst Tyga FX