German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 63, has no margin of error to try to form a government alliance with the Social Democrats, after a first failure in November with environmentalists and liberals
More than three months after the legislative elections in Germany, the conservatives of Angela Merkel and the Social Democrats will end this Thursday five days of negotiations to form a government alliance, on which the political future of the chancellor depends to a great extent.
The result of these thorny conversations is not expected until late at night.
After a first failure in November with ecologists and liberals, the chancellor, who has been in power for 12 years, has no margin for error if she wants to govern another four years.
For the political scientist Karl-Rudolf Korte, the 63-year-old leader, weakened after winning a disappointing victory in the September elections, „would be finished“ in case of a new setback.
The same would happen with his ally Horst Seehofer, president of the Bavarian party CSU, and with the leader of the Social Democrats (SPD), Martin Schulz, who lost part of his authority from the poor results of his training in the elections.
„All eyes are on the parties and their leaders,“ warned German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
This heavyweight of the SPD was already the one who forced those responsible for his party, who were willing to remain in the opposition, to negotiate with Merkel to avoid early elections that could benefit especially the formation of far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD ).
According to a survey published this week by the German magazine Der Spiegel, AfD has 14.5% of the voting intentions, a better result than the one obtained in the legislative elections (12.6%).
– Change of scenery –
In 2013, conservatives and social democrats held four-fifths of seats in the Bundestag. At that time, there were four parties represented in the lower house compared to six now, after the return of the liberals of the FDP and the entry of AfD.
The conservatives and the SPD, who governed together twice during the past 12 years, each promise a „new policy“ adapted to the current era, despite their great divergences in certain matters.
The rightists, in particular the CSU, which has begun its campaign for the regional elections at the end of the year, demand a tightening of the migration policy and a limited tax reduction for all.
The SPD defends, for its part, a relaxation of family reunification for refugees, investments in education and infrastructure and greater support for the middle and underprivileged classes.
– The unknown of the SPD –
The possible partners, however, moved forward on certain issues, such as a law on qualified immigration, a key issue to deal with the aging of the population in the first European economy.
According to local media, they could agree on Thursday on a document that will serve as the basis for future government cooperation. But the Social Democrats will probably wait until Friday to communicate whether they recommend a new coalition or not.
Then they will be the delegates of the SPD, gathered in extraordinary congress on January 21, who will have to pronounce on negotiations of greater importance.
And at the end of the whole process, they will be the militants, little supporters of returning to power with the conservatives, who must approve the government contract.
„Skepticism was and continues to be justified,“ an SPD leader, Ralf Stegner, said on Wednesday.
„I think we can still avoid a grand coalition“ between the conservatives and the SPD, said SPD youth leader Kevin Kühnert in Der Spiegel.
For the youth of the party, we must prevent AfD from being the main opposition force in the Bundestag.
If the negotiations come to fruition, we will have to wait until the end of March for a new executive to take control of the country, while Europe becomes impatient.