Angela Merkel's future in balance as riven SPD heads for crunch coalition vote

DW.COM | 1/21/2018 | Staff
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Germany's oldest political party is also the one stuck with the biggest existential crisis. Some 600 Social Democratic Party (SPD) delegates — from the various state party organizations — are due in Bonn on Sunday to vote on whether to move into formal coalition negotiations with Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).

"It's not an exaggeration: The world is looking at Bonn this Sunday," former SPD leader and current Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told the Bild newspaper on Wednesday. Meanwhile his successor as party leader Martin Schulz, helpfully reinforcing the sense of political melodrama, added that "an epoch change in European politics is within reach."

Chancellor - Herself - TV - Set - Apartment

The chancellor herself may well be clinging to her TV set in her modest apartment back in Berlin on Sunday, too. Although the delegates' decision is not final (the SPD's 440,000 members will also vote), what happens in Bonn, itself gripped by an actual storm this week, will probably show which way the wind is blowing.

Should the SPD say "no" to the "GroKo" (as the CDU/CSU grand coalition with the SPD is nicknamed in Germany), Merkel will be left with two options. Neither of them are entirely to her taste: a CDU/CSU-led minority government — which will see the conservatives fishing around for a parliamentary majority among various parties from one draft law to the next — or a new election, which may prove just as inconclusive as the one last September, and which may herald the end of Merkel's chancellorship.

Stake - SPD - Party - Identity - Crisis

There is no less at stake for the SPD. The venerable center-left party's ongoing identity crisis (which, rather un-crisis-like, has been running for several years) has now assumed full-on calamity status: This week, the SPD dropped to 18.5 percent in one opinion poll — 2 percentage points...
(Excerpt) Read more at: DW.COM
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