Angela Merkel won her fourth term but the results were not pretty either for Merkel’s CDU/CSU party or SPD, her Grand Coalition partner following the last election.

Support for major parties nose-dived and the Eurosceptic AfD party is now the third largest party in Germany.

Rather than enter another Grand Coalition, SPD has indicated it will go into opposition.

The above chart from the Financial Times.

With SPD bowing out, Merkel has two unfortunate choices: Enter a three-way coalition or form a minority government. The latter would take pot shots from all sides.

I discussed this setup on September 19, in AfD In 3rd Place in German Election Polls: Unhappy Political Marriages.

If SDP chooses opposition, Merkel could form a majority government via an alliance of CDU (36), the Greens (7), and FDP (9). Currently, that alliance would have a bare majority with 52% of the vote.

Regardless of what happens, Merkel will be in a much-weakened position compared to now.

And other than a miracle CDU/FDP finish that achieves more than 50%, it may take quite some time after the election for the next government to form.

In response to that article, a European reader told me to stop writing about European politics because I don’t know what I am talking about.

Stark Choice

The Guardian reports Angela Merkel Faces Stark Choice Between Coalition or Minority Rule.

Having gained the largest percentage of the vote despite her party suffering its worst result since 1949, Merkel’s CDU will still need to find one or more coalition partners in order to find a governing majority, or pursue a minority government.

A continuation of the current “grand coalition” between the centre-right and the centre-left would have guaranteed 53% of the vote, according to exit poll projections, but was ruled out by the SPD’s lead candidate, Martin Schulz, as he conceded defeat.

With the CDU nursing its wounds after the worst result in its postwar history, many members believe that the party can only recuperate its former energy in opposition.

If the CDU [I believe they mean SPD] stayed outside the cabinet it would also stop AfD from assuming the role of leader of the opposition and gaining associated parliamentary privileges.

The only other option for a majority government would be a so-called “Jamaica coalition” between the CDU, the pro-business FDP and the Green party, named after the colours traditionally associated with the groups.

Politicians from both the FDP and the Greens have publicly dismissed the Jamaica option, and a coalition would be seen with scepticism by the Green party’s members, who lean further to the left than its leadership. “How high do you have to be?”, the newspaper Taz noted wryly in its Friday edition, emblazoned with a picture of [Jamaican singer] Bob Marley smoking a joint.

Should talks about a grand coalition or a Jamaica solution break down, Merkel could consider a minority government supported by all her three potential coalition partners.

Speaking on TV on Sunday evening, however, Merkel appealed to rule out a minority government, saying it was her intention to “achieve a stable government in Germany”.

So here we are. Coalition talks will take quite a bit of time, or Merkel will have to form a minority government.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock