The SPD has decided – the beginning of the end of the grand coalition?


In the SPD, the opponents of the grand coalition win the member survey. This could be the beginning of the end of the government. Germany will suffer, France and possibly the USA could benefit. New elections in the current environment entail many risks, but also the chance for a Schröder effect.

The SPD members have elected the new party leaders in a run-off election. With Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans, the two candidates were elected who spoke out in favour of a quick end to the grand coalition. Instead, the two chairmen are aiming for a government to the left of the centre.

The election itself was close. Esken and Walter-Borjans received 53% of the votes, Finance Ministers Scholz and Klara Geywitz received 45%. This couple had started with the goal of successfully continuing the coalition. The turnout was only 54%. Obviously, the long election process had tired the members visibly in the end. The successful couple will now be formally confirmed at a party conference of the SPD within the next few days.

This election could have noticeable consequences for Germany. The new party leaders want to renegotiate the federal budget passed last week and push through more SPD demands. The coalition, which has already been weakened, faces new challenges. The danger or the chance (depending on one’s point of view) that the government will break up in the next few months has certainly increased.

The CDU is also keen to strengthen its profile, which should further fuel the dispute between the parties. The government’s ability to act should thus continue to decline. Germany will not benefit from this. The visible weakness in growth is likely to continue or, if political uncertainty increases, even spread further. France’s President Macron should seize the opportunity to establish himself even more strongly as a political leader in Europe and further assert France’s positions and interests. Even the American government could take advantage of this constellation and put the currently dormant customs dispute back on the agenda, as more concessions can now be obtained if necessary.

Domestically, the Greens and the AfD are the laughing third parties. If new elections are brought forward, current polls suggest that the major parties will be weakened further. This makes it even more difficult to form a government. However, one does not have to take a pessimistic view of everything. After the Kohl era, Germany was in a similarly politically exhausted state as it is today. The reforms then established under Chancellor Schröder brought about a new awakening in Germany and strong growth for years. On a positive note, one can also hope for such an effect. What is important is that all those involved are aware of their great responsibility.

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