German Greens may return to power

19 September 2005

The inconclusive outcome of Germany’s 18 September general election could result in a coalition government that includes the Green party.

Since Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s decision to force an early election, the nuclear industry has been has been buoyed by the prospect of the Christian Democrats (CDU) returning to power. CDU leader Angela Merkel had indicated that the Green-engineered nuclear phase out deal would be reversed under a CDU-led government. Following a spectacular comeback by Schröder’s Social Democrats (SPD), the CDU (along with its Bavarian sister party, the CSU) saw its 20-point lead reduced to under 1%. Provisional election results are:

  • CDU/CSU: 35.2% (225 seats)
  • SPD: 34.3% (222)
  • FDP (Liberal party): 9.8% (61)
  • Die Linke (Left party): 8.7% (54)
  • Greens: 8.1% (51)
The FDP – the natural coalition partner of the CDU/CSU – polled around 2% higher than expected, but this wasn’t enough to make up for the drop in the predicted share of the vote for Merkel’s party. Now, several scenarios are possible, including holding another election.

One possibility is that of a ‘grand coalition’ between the CDU and SPD. However, the SPD has indicated it would only consider this option if Schröder was to remain as Chancellor. Merkel also insists she has a mandate to be Chancellor, but her position as head of the CDU is now vulnerable, following the party’s lower than expected share of the vote. CSU head Edmund Stoiber has refused to consider a grand coalition led by Schröder.

But two other possible governments include the Greens, who are certain to insist on the nuclear phase out deal remaining in place. The most likely of these is the so-called ‘Jamaica coalition' (after the colours of the Jamaican flag) of CDU, FDP and Greens, though this has been ruled out by Joschka Fischer, foreign minister and head of the Greens, who said: “Jamaica is not an option.”

Similarly, the Left party has ruled out a red-red-green coalition of the SPD, Greens and the Left. A possible variation on this theme would be for the SPD and Greens to form a minority government that is tolerated by the Left.

The deadline for a coalition deal to be reached is 18 October.


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