In Germany’s federal election last month, the Liberals (FDP) more than doubled their vote share to 10.7 percent. Post-election analysis has focused primarily on the losses of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the rise of the anti-immigration, new national conservative party, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). There’s another story here — the CDU actually lost more voters to the Liberals than the AfD, and the FDP was also a clear winner in this election. What does this tell us about shifting party loyalties, and what happens now? Our research gives some clues. The Social Democratic Party (SPD), which had its worst electoral result in postwar German history, quickly announced that it would not be part of another Grand Coalition with CDU. SPD instead will look to regroup as the leader of the opposition in the next legislative term.
This leaves what may shape up to be a “Jamaica” coalition (named after the colors of the Jamaican flag and the potential coalition partners) between the CDU/CSU (black), FDP (yellow) and the Greens. This would be the first such coalition on the national level.
Political changes that would facilitate the coalition are already fueling speculation about the consequences for European politics. Soon after the election, the CDU’s powerful Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble stepped down to run for the office of president of the parliament. This frees up an important ministerial portfolio for Merkel to use in coalition negotiations — and it’s a position the FDP wants.