German Federal Election 2017: Jamaica Coalition Breakdown

After winning the German Federal Election, potential Chancellor Angela Merkel got grounded in reality. The Jamaica coalition has been called off.

The Free Democratic Party, FDP, abruptly ended coalition talks with the conservative CDU, which won the election with Merkel, and the Greens. The so-called Jamaica coalition is history and Germany is running out of political options going forward.

German Federal Election: Boring and Tedious

It was an unexciting trip to the ballot for Germans in October. The German Federal Election and the campaigns preceding it were nothing short of boring. Merkel’s main competitor, Martin Schulz of the Social Democrats (SPD), never seemed to gain any substantial ground against Merkel since his nomination as a candidate. On the other end, the smaller parties, apart from the AFD, wallowed in their usual phrases. The whole system seemed to run in place, with the far-right AFD making a run for it and gain big.

The result was as sobering as the lead up to the underwhelming spectacle. Angela Merkel won a mandate for her fourth term overall, though her conservatives suffered significant losses. Previous coalition partner SPD suffered the same fate while the AFD was able to enter parliament for the first time. This created its own predicament. The AFD and the left party were ruled out as potential coalition partners while the SPD refused. There was only one working coalition possible: A Jamaica coalition.

Jamaica Coalition Breakdown

A Jamaica coalition formed by FDP (yellow), Greens, and CDU (black) would be the only feasible option to form a majority in parliament. The three parties immediately got together to discuss terms and find common ground, but conditions were tough, especially for Greens to come to terms with the other two parties.

The surprising result: not the Greens pulled out, but the Liberals over differences that can’t be solved from their point of view. Discrepancies were expected and an easy solution wasn’t in sight – but this turnout is a surprise for most spectators and creates more problems than it solves.

FDP party leader Christian Lindner said: “It is better not to govern than to govern on false premises.”

It seems some compromises were achieved, though education, tax, EU and immigration topics seemed to be too far from their own political views to support them or compromise further.

Angela Merkel and Frank-Walter Steinmeier: Political Quagmire

Angela Merkel is not yet been officially approved as Chancellor. For now, the fate of the government is in the hand of President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. And he is running out of options.  It won’t be an easy decision – both options on the table would be the first of their kind since WWII. Merkel and her CDU could either opt and try to build a minority government, hoping that the opposition would mainly carry their political interests or the President has to schedule re-elections. Both options are inherently risky for both the CDU and Germany as a whole.

Re-elections, many fear, could mean an increase in votes for the right-wing AFD, which already holds 12,6%. It could cost Merkel her position as well. If the CDU were to opt for a minority government, they would not be able to realize most of their goals and would be very dependent on the opposition.

It’s a dilemma that needs urgent solving, as the current uncertainty of the situation will have impacts on the political and economic landscape of Germany.

About Andreas Salmen

Born and raised in Germany, learned a job in IT and Business and ultimately decided that this wasn't exactly where my life was going to end. Left everything behind to become a writing backpacker instead. The world's crumbling away anyway so why not write about it and get a few good Instagram pics on the way, am I right?

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