September 24, 2013
THERE ARE NO POLITICAL DIFFERENCES REMAINING:
Re-election in Hand, Merkel Moves to Form New German Government (ALISON SMALE and JACK EWING, 9/24/13, NY Times)
Posted by Orrin Judd at September 24, 2013 6:14 PMOn Monday morning, Ms. Merkel met with leaders of her center-right Christian Democratic party to discuss strategy for forming a coalition government, most likely with the center-left Social Democrats, who finished second in the polling. [...]The surprising show of strength for Ms. Merkel and the Christian Democrats -- even their own polls had not suggested such a result -- was just short of an absolute majority, according to preliminary results published on Monday. No chancellor has achieved an absolute majority since Konrad Adenauer in 1957. [...]In the past three years, the Social Democrats have given crucial support to Ms. Merkel in Parliament in passing credit lines and aid packages, tied to painful reforms, for euro-zone countries in need. But the center-leftists are likely to extract a high price in domestic reforms -- a minimum wage, or social change -- in exchange for joining a Merkel government in which they would be clearly the junior partner. Preliminary official results showed them with 25.7 percent, far below their center-right rivals.Sigmar Gabriel, the chairman of the Social Democrats, said Ms. Merkel called him early Monday, but he indicated that he was in no rush to begin coalition talks. Instead, the party will hold a conference at the end of the week to discuss with its membership how to proceed.The Social Democrats find themselves in a tough position, given their last experience in a coalition with the chancellor from 2005 to 2009. The party lost popularity afterward, and recovered only slightly in this round of voting.