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New Elections in Germany, or Protracted Undead Government?

Nov. 20, 2017 (EIRNS)—At 6:00 p.m. Middle European Time yesterday, the Germany's Free Democrats marched out of coalition talks, having their leader Christian Lindner declare that "having no government is better than having a bad government." Since there had been signs that the Christian Democratic Party (CDU), the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) and Greens were making secret deals without properly informing the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the latter brought an end to the talks. Caretaker Chancellor Angela Merkel reported the situation to Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier this noon. At this point, Merkel is not even a lame duck; she is a zombie, an undead head of a non-government at the grace of others, including adversaries in her own party.

Since these four parties CDU-CSU, FDP, and Greens, are not coming together, and since the Social Democratic Party (SPD) reiterated this afternoon that it has no intention to enter a new "Grand Coalition" (CDU-CSU, FDP, and SPD), new elections are actually the only way out. However, since CDU-CSU, Greens, and SPD lost heavily in the Sept. 24 national election, they would have little interest in new elections; the FDP and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party are not afraid of new elections, in which they would expect to improve their results, as also the Linke has said it does not fear new elections.

Steinmeier said after meeting with Merkel, that "we are faced with a situation which has not existed in the history of the Federal Republic, that is in almost 70 years;" therefore, he preferred, rather than approving new elections, to call on all parties again to rethink their views and come to an agreement on a coalition. Steinmeier wants to confer with leaders of the CDU, CSU, FDP, and Greens, but also with "other parties" (SPD, AfD, Linke) in the coming days. This faces Germany with a gray zone between an undead and an unborn government, probably for the next weeks. Ironically, originally, Merkel today was to receive Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte—who required 18 months of talks before being able to finally form a new government recently. One hopes that Germany and its electorate will be spared that torture.