The SPD is pressing ahead with its plans for the “Traffic Light” coalition. However, the Greens and the FDP want to hit the cornerstone together first. In the Federation, people became somewhat more cautious overnight. The result is not a government mandate – not even for the SPD.
After winning the federal election, the SPD’s chancellor candidate, Olaf Schultz, campaigned for the Traffic Lights Coalition. He said on Monday in Berlin that the Social Democratic Party, the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party have been strengthened, “these three parties must lead the next government.” The union still hoped to form the Jamaica Alliance. Chancellor’s candidate Armin Laschet has already begun similar explorations with the leaders of the Free Democratic Party and the Green Party, but the union’s claim to the government became a bit relative on Monday.
Armin Laschet appeared in front of the press as a self-critic. “This result cannot, must and will not satisfy the Union.” He confirms that he is open to discussions with other parties. No party can derive a government mandate from this result. We don’t do that either. As I explained it yesterday. Not even the Social Democratic Party.”
Laschet had a long conversation with FDP leader Christian Lindner on election night and wanted to speak to Green Chancellor candidate Annalena Barbock on Monday, according to the CDU in Berlin. At the same time, Laschet tried to dispel the impression that he was demanding the formation of the government. “No one can derive a government claim from the election result, and I didn’t say that on Sunday either,” Lachet said. “We are ready for the other towers if the traffic light doesn’t work.”
Schulz pushes the traffic light
Schulz said after consultations with the SPD leadership that he wanted to form a “socio-ecological-liberal alliance”. Now he wants to talk to the Greens and the Free Democratic Party. He also called it “just fine” if the FDP and the Greens wanted to talk to each other first. “I want to build a government based on trust,” he promised. In this regard, he described the Black and Yellow Alliance from 2009 to 2013, after which the FDP was expelled from the Bundestag, as a “deterrent example”.
SPD general secretary Lars Klingbeil has stressed his party’s claim that he was the first to call for government talks. Schultz emphasized that voters “spoke very clearly” and no longer wanted to see union in government. Now it is important not to put one’s sensibilities ahead, but to lead a good government. “Now pragmatism and leadership are required. We will implement what the citizens gave us as a mission.”
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Laschet was granted a “personal stake” in the Federal Executive Committee to defeat the election. At the same time he called for unity so that the union could form a “future alliance” with the Free Democratic Party and the Green Party. In the struggle for the presidency of the union’s parliamentary group, it was reported that there was an obstacle to the leader of the CDU. Accordingly, the leader of the parliamentary group, Ralph Brinkhaus, initially refused to take the presidency only temporarily. He was said to want to be elected for a year on Tuesday. At a parallel board meeting of the Bavarian sister party CSU, according to the participants, Laschet was sharply criticized. He complained that Sodder would have been the best candidate for chancellor.
Marcus Soder, president of the CSU, also fell back on Monday in terms of government mandates. The union came in second and not one, and there was no entitlement to judge – but an offer to hold talks, according to participants at the CSU board meeting in Munich. He explained that such an offer would be made – but there would be no “gratitude at any cost” on the part of the Greens and the FDP.
Heavyweights in the CDU have distanced themselves from leading the government. Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer told MDR that there was no clear government mandate for the union. “If we continue what we’ve done so far, I’m going to be very worried about what’s left after four years.”
The Greens speak to the FDP in advance
“People want Olaf Schultz as an advisor, not Armin Laschet,” said Michael Kellner, federal general manager of the Green Party. Habeck, the co-leader of the party, said the SPD was clearly ahead of the union and that it was also “the most progressive party”. “A clear leap of faith from the people,” SPD candidate Olaf Schultz said on the Deutschlandfunk website. However, the traffic light operates very differently from the red and green, Habek announced that he wanted to get closer to the FDP.
Habeck emphasized that he, like Lindner, chair of the FDP, considered the initial talks between the two parties with a view to a possible formation of a government reasonable. In his experience, it makes sense that “the more distant parties initially (…) are seeing if they can manage it together,” Habeck said Monday in NDR Info. These are the Freedom and Development Party and the Greens: “We really oppose social, fiscal and financial issues.” Habeck also cautioned against follies in exploration and noted the failure of the Jamaica alliance in 2017. The explorations “go wrong, among other things, because everything is constantly being revealed,” Habeck said.
The engine of change in German politics.
Meanwhile, FDP politicians campaigned for liberals and greens to work together to bring about reforms in Germany. They are “the potential driver of change in German politics,” said FDP parliamentary group vice-chairman Michael Tuerer. Marco Buschmann, a member of the FDP Presidium, said he would appreciate it if the two parties “cannot be divided”. Volker Wesing, General Secretary of the FDP, indicated his willingness to compromise with the SPD. Liberal proposals can also be implemented gradually. FDP is about content. “We don’t want to push anyone into the chancellery,” he stressed. At the same time, he noted, the union prevented reforms in the previous black and yellow governments. Now the FDP is no longer ready to “slow down”.
Criticism of Laschet’s behavior came from Thuringian Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow. On Monday, the leftist politician in the People’s Democratic Movement said he was disturbed that the union chancellor’s candidate “after such a hard election, suppose he said he could pass Mr. Schulz to the chancellery”. “In East Germany, the Social Democrats declared themselves a strong party.” If you suddenly say to this party “we can form a coalition without you in the Chancellery”, Ramilo said, whoever did it would “violate the will of the voters.”
According to the preliminary result, the SPD improved in Sunday’s election to 25.7 percent (2017: 20.5). On the other hand, the union experienced a historical disaster, it only reached 24.1% (32.9). The Greens had their best result so far with chancellor Annallina Barbock, but fell short of expectations with 14.8 percent (8.9). The FDP improved to 11.5 percent (10.7).
The AfD, which is in third place so far, has just 10.3 percent (12.6). However, it became the most powerful party in Thuringia and Saxony. In both countries, Alternative for Germany is in the crosshairs of the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution, and in Thuringia it is classified as “definitely extreme” and has been noted since the spring. The left slipped to 4.9 percent (9.2). But since she was able to defend three of her last five terms, she could still move to the Bundestag according to the results of her second vote. This sets the basic state requirement.
The majority in the Bundestag will change dramatically. The seat distribution looks as follows: SPD 206 (2017: 153), CDU/CSU 196 (2017: 246), Greens 118 (67), FDP 92 (80), AfD 83 (94), Linke 39 (69). As a party from the Danish minority that is exempt from the five percent hurdle, the Sudschleswig electorate passes to the Bundestag with one member. Thus, the new Bundestag will have a record number of members. The participation rate was 76.6 percent over the previous elections (76.2 percent).
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