Whatever happens in the German election campaign over the next five-and-a-half weeks, the outcome will almost certainly be for another coalition government. Although Angela Merkel is the most popular politician in Germany, and her Christian Democratic Union is the front-running political party, it would be an extraordinary upset for the CDU – with its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union – to win an outright majority. It is currently earning steady 40 per cent support in opinion polls, some 6-7 per cent short of the threshold required to gain outright control of the Bundestag. At this point in the election campaign, however, the game politicians play is to deny they have any intention of taking part in any coalition other than their first preference.
So Ms Merkel is adamant that she wants to keep her present centre-right coalition with the liberal Free Democrats, although its record over the past four years has been very patchy. Constant bickering, especially between the FDP and the conservative CSU, has made the “black-yellow” coalition (named after the respective party colours) much less popular than its constituent parts.
On the left, the Social Democratic party (SPD) and the environmentalist Greens insist that a “red-green” coalition remains their absolute ambition, even though they are currently polling a combined 40 per cent, well short of the majority threshold.
The man who has now put the cat among the pigeons is Gregor Gysi, the sharp-witted and silver-tongued former Communist lawyer who leads the radical Linke – the Left party – in the election campaign. He declared last week that he would happily take part in a “red-red-green” alliance to replace Ms Merkel.
Full Article: Germany’s election campaign becomes tale of colour coalitions – FT.com.