Courted by the green queen Angela Merkel, who is desperately trying to form a new German government, the lefties now propose half a marriage. The obvious thing for Merkel to do is go right, not left, but she won’t do it.
Just to recap, Germany has a lot of political parties, with Merkel heading the biggest one. Hers and the further left parties lost big in the September elections, so she has been struggling to form a majority coalition ever since. She first tried working with the Greens but that failed.
Now she is after the biggest left-wing party, which was her old partner in what was called the “grand coalition.” But they lost so badly that they swore off being a partner. Now after about three months without a new government they are finally talking to Merkel, but very reluctantly because many of their members don’t want the party to do it.
As a result they have proposed a novel semi-coalition, dubbed KoKo, which stands for cooperation coalition. It probably cannot work, but politics often leads to strange stuff.
In a normal coalition the parties first develop a joint platform, where everyone agrees to the position on all major issues. Under KoKo they merely agree to a few issues that mean a lot to the left.
The lefties then reserve the right to challenge Merkel’s party on other big issues. Merkel would have to form mini-coalitions with other parties on those issues. So there is really not a lot of cooperation in this KoKo coalition.
Germany has a parliamentary system where if the government loses the vote on a major bill it can be turned out. KoKo thus means that the Merkel government would be living from vote to vote. This is instability personified, although it is not quite as bad as Merkel trying to run a solo minority government, which is seen as another losing option. KoKo looks like being married two days a week.
Mind you some pundits say that KoKo is just a half measure proposed on the way to the grand coalition. This might happen if the left’s sizable anti-Merkel faction cools down a bit. Anything is possible in a mess like this, but the result might still be unstable. In short reestablishing the grand coalition is looking pretty crazy.
What seems like the obvious solution is for Merkel’s party to abandon the left and form a coalition with the two major conservative parties. The problem here is that this coalition would include the new populist party, which the establishment fears and loathes. Thanks to the elections it is now the third largest party, after Merkel’s and the lefties.
It is this rising populism that has destabilized the established order. The shock is very much like what has happened in America with the Trump election. In that sense a right looking coalition would reflect what the German people voted for.
Merkel would probably have to go, but her party could simply look to the right instead of the left. There has in fact been some movement in that direction within the party. Merkel is clearly vulnerable.
So basically the instability in Germany is increasing at this point, not decreasing. The government has to go somewhere to form and going Trumplike may be the final move, but for now it is still lurching left.
These are interesting times indeed. Stay tuned.