Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Now What?

For the last week I've been in Bonn and Berlin covering the recent German elections, which resulted in no clear winner. On the one hand the CDU/CSU now have more members than any single party in the Bundestag. On the other hand, because their number dropped from 38.5 percent of the electorate in 2002 to some 35 percent, they and their traditional partners, the Free Democrats, no longer have enough seats to form a government. At the same time, the SPD and the Greens also do not have enough seats to continue ruling. Besides the possibility of a Grand Coalition (CDU/CSU and SPD) and an alliance of leftists under Schröder, there is also talk of a possible Black (CDU/CSU's color), Yellow (FDP), Green coalition, also known as the Jamaica coalition. This is highly unlikely unless the Greens are willing to make major concessions as a junior partner. Right now, the odds are in favor of a Black-Red alliance. If so, there are rumors that the new foreign minister would be Otto Schily, the current minister of the interior. Current estimates as to how long it will take before Germans have a new government run from a few days to two weeks.

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