Possible government options in Germany

Published 21.09.2017 01:52

As the world turned its eyes towards the 72nd session of the U.N. General Assembly this week, election campaigning and propaganda ahead of the German federal elections on Sept. 25 took an upward turn.

Although Germany failed to force its opinions and wishes regarding Turkey on the international community, it remains one of the most, if not the most, important European Union (EU) nations, especially after Britain's departure from the bloc.

Now, with just three days left for the polls, let's take a closer look at what kind of government might rule Germany after Sept. 25.

Apparently, the activities to build opinions against Turkey and its President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which reached a boiling point during the electoral campaign, will not come to an end regardless of what kind of government takes office in Berlin. But, I would prefer to focus on that issue once the election has come to an end.

In the meantime, the latest polls actually confirm a truth that has become more evident over the past months: Angela Merkel is set to come out as the winner. The only name we will almost certainly see take over as the new chancellor is Merkel.

Although Merkel's Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) and its ally, the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), were unlikely to yield results similar to that of the last election, they look certain to comprise the largest group in the parliament.

However, if they do see similar results, they would not need to build a grand coalition with the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and be able to form a CDU/CSU and Free Democratic Party (FDP) coalition government with the sufficient number of seats. But, this seems less likely at the moment. However, if the election arithmetic allows, it might be the best option for Germany.

The FDP could not join the federal parliament last term as they failed to cross the 5 percent threshold. But recent polls suggested they were likely to receive at least 9 percent of the votes this time around, which will be a great achievement for the liberals.

The biggest loser, on the other hand, might be the former European Parliament President Martin Schulz and his SPD. Since announcing his candidacy in a sensational manner and exuberating confidence that he would take over the chancellor's office from Merkel, Schulz's ratings have been in a downward spiral following his initial achievements.

The SPD were likely to grab between 20 and 23 percent of the votes. In that case, let alone being the chancellor, Schulz will be obliged to join a grand coalition where he would be the weaker partner unless Merkel gives a surprise by picking a different coalition option.

According to the latest figures, it looks possible for Merkel to form a surprise coalition. For instance, the idea of forming a CDU-Greens coalition government in Baden Württemberg, one of the largest and most prosperous states of Germany, looks to be in favor.

Meanwhile, some sources have argued for a while now that the CDU/CSU alliance and the Greens might also cooperate at the federal level. So, a coalition government comprising the CDU/CSU, the FDP, and the Greens was also a possibility.

Although the Greens are expected to rank the lowest among the minor parties according to recent polls, they might become a part of the government with the CDU/CSU and the FDP since their vote share was estimated to be around 7-8 percent. The number of seats they may occupy in such a coalition will be satisfactory according to most estimations.

This model is not likely to be considered among the first options since Merkel does not seem to favor it, the CSU does not want to form a government with the Greens and even the FDP does not lean towards it. But it might be better for the SPD, since the party could take on the role of main opposition and make a stronger return after four years.

Unfortunately, the actual winner of the Sept. 24 elections might turn out to be the Alternative for Germany (AfD). With its far-right slogans and rhetoric, the party was estimated to receive around 9-12 percent of the votes.

The only party that can force the third parliamentary group position is the Left. So, the AfD and the Left, the former being far-right and the latter being far-left, are both unlikely to contribute to Germany's future, and will possibly form the main opposition against a grand coalition and might increase their vote shares over the next four years. This would mean a complete catastrophe for the SPD.

In the morning of Sept. 25, it will have been clear which model will actually be adopted to form Germany's new government that will face tough challenges like reorganization of the EU after Brexit and the relation between Turkey and Germany.

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