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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures during her speech at the meeting of the Middle-size economy and economic union of the CDU/CSU in Nuremberg, southern Germany, on September 1, 2017

    Merkel May Form Government With Smaller Party After Federal Elections

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    Several experts told Sputnik that Angela Merkel may form a coalition government with smaller parties after the federal election.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel may want to form a coalition government with one of the smaller parties after the upcoming federal elections, like with the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), for example, experts told Sputnik.

    Union And a Smaller Party

    This Sunday, the Germans will choose members of the 630-seat Parliament, which will then elect the federal chancellor, who, in turn, will be able to form a government. The chancellor needs absolute majority to be elected.

    The current government is made up of the so-called Union, consisting of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), headed by Merkel, its sister party, the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany. This alliance is known in Germany as the Grand Coalition.

    Recent polls show that the Union is enjoying a comfortable lead of some 13-15 percent over the SPD, and that it may possibly form a coalition with one of the smaller parties. According to Helmut Norpoth, professor of political science at Stony Brook University, there is an 88-percent chance that CDU and the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) will get majority seats this year.

    "It’s very likely that Merkel will be able to do a government just with one of the smaller [parties], the FDP… She had to do it with the SPD so there was no real alternative. But if she has a chance to do it with a smaller party – the Free Democrats, … I am pretty sure she would do that," Norpoth told Sputnik.

    The programs of the Union and the FDP overlap on several issues, such as defense spending, as both parties support NATO and seek to increase spending up to the 2-percent target for members of the alliance. However, the parties disagree on the Ankara issue, with the CDU/CSU standing against Turkey’s accession despite favoring deeper ties between Berlin and Ankara, and the FDP saying that Turkey can become a member of the European Union, but not if President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains in office.

    The coalition between the CDU/CSU and the FDP is called the Black-Yellow coalition after the parties’ colors. This coalition was formed during the second cabinet of Angela Merkel in 2009-2013, and is now working in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

    Jamaica Coalition

    "If possible, there would be a coalition between the Christian Democrats and the Liberals. The next option will be a coalition between Christian Democrats and the Liberals and the Green party," political scientist Werner Patzelt, a professor at the TU Dresden university, told Sputnik.

    The alliance consisting of the CDU/CSU, FDP and the Green party is called "Jamaica" coalition, since the black, yellow and green colors of the parties resemble the Jamaican flag. It is currently being considered as the possible coalition to form the local government in the state of Schleswig-Holstein.

    However, the Green party traditionally tends to be more leftist, which would push for creation of a coalition with the SPD.

    Traffic Light Coalition

    The colors of the coalition between SPD, FDP and the Greens are red, yellow and green, earning them the name "traffic light coalition."

    Norpoth said that at some point in the past, the SDP, led by Martin Schulz, looked as though it might get the majority and therefore be able to form a coalition with the FDP or the Green Party, or, possibly, both of them. However, according to the latest polls, the likelihood of SPD getting the majority is almost nonexistent, as the party is projected to get between 22-25 percent of the vote.

    The only chance for a traffic light coalition in Germany is in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where such government was formed after local elections in 2016.

    Red-Red-Green Coalition

    Another possible coalition for the SPD is the red-red-green one, with the third member being the Left party.

    Bernd Riexinger, the chair of the Left Party, called on Schulz in the run-up to the latter's televised debates with Merkel to rule out a Grand Coalition and to "let the color into the Chancellor-Duel."

    "The only party that might intend to do something with the ultra-left Party would be the SPD," Norpoth said.

    All three parties in this possible coalition agree on a number of issues, including support for stricter Brexit talks and opposition to increasing military spending. The Left, in fact, calls for the complete dissolution of NATO.

    Given that both the Left and the Green parties are projected to get somewhere near 10 percent of the vote, this coalition looks like the most preferable for the Socialists, if they are willing to form a government.

    Potential Right-Wing Majority

    The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), which currently holds no seats in the parliament, has strengthened its position to third place in the race and is expected to get some 10-11 percent of the vote.

    "The major difference [this year] is that this time we will have a right wing majority in the Bundestag different from a present and a former situation where there always has been a left-wing majority, which, however, could not end up in a coalition because it’s politically impossible so far in Germany to form a coalition between the Social Democrats and the Left party," Patzelt said.

    However, the right-wing AfD is not likely to be invited to form a coalition by the CDU. Merkel has already ruled out a coalition with either the far right or the far left.

    According to Patzelt, this can be explained by Merkel's goal to "accommodate centrist movements and possibly nearly all Germans," and an alliance with the AfD might cost her votes.

    Norpoth concluded that Germany was "moderate and reasonable about everything" and the extreme political leanings were unlikely to get much support.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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