Here we are again on a Saturday (much better than Mondays, right?). And we have some election aftermath to discuss. As a special, besides our presentation of what has happened since Monday and what might happen from now on, we proudly present you our newest edition of #THEÜBERSICHT election edition. Everything you need to know for your transatlantic competence (and to impress your politically interested friends with). Enjoy and ping us for more!
WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE MONDAY:
The SPD and CSU/CSU are still not on the same page of how to interpret the election results. The CDU Candidate Armin Laschet attempted to hold on to his interpretation that the CDU/CSU, as the big election looser and second-place finisher, had a clear governmental mandate. This week, however, it wasn’t only the SPD had a different view: Also in his own party voices are getting louder, expressing their disappointment about the weak result, and also the weak candidate Laschet. While some of Laschet’s party members came out in the open, his biggest rival and CSU party leader Markus Söder is more for subtle stitches.
- The new (old) parliamentary group leader: One big party-internal quarrel was about the personnel matter of the parliamentary group leader (i.e., the German version of the “whip”). After tough negotiations, Söder and Laschet arranged with a makeshift that gave old group leader Ralph Brinkhaus another 6-month mandate. The normal duration, however, would have been 12 months. This is important as the position of the parliamentary group leader is the most important one in the case the CDU/CSU wouldn’t join the new government. The group leader is in fact the leader of the opposition – a mandate Söder doesn’t want to give to Laschet under any circumstance.
- (Not so) Subtle stitches: After first talks with the Greens (see below), the FDP wanted to talk first with the CDU/CSU on Saturday (before talking to the SPD on Sunday). A controversial move, which is not about to happen. First, there were some internal disagreements on the CDU/CSU team for the talks. Second, Söder will be part of the team but let everybody know that he won’t be available on Saturday because he first wants to visit the birthday party (!) of former Bavarian Minister-President Edmund Stoiber. The result is that SPD and FDP will meet first on Sunday afternoon and the CDU/CSU come second to talk with the FDP on Sunday evening.
Sounding out and Instagram: First informal talks between FDP and the Greens already happened on Tuesday. Green party leaders Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck met with FDP leader Christian Lindner and FDP secretary-general Volker Wissing to sound out some similarities and see where bridges can be built over their differences. And to present unity and harmony, they all decided to post the same picture on Instagram with the same caption, reading basically how awesome everything was and how great the base for compromises. We for sure don’t have to mention the many (really cool) memes were created from this picture. Politics 2021.
THE NEXT DAYS:
The classical sounding out of coalition opportunities will gather pace in the next days. As already mentioned, Greens and FDP talked already with each other but will likely ramp up their efforts even more, involving the full exploratory teams of their parties. The most important happenings:
- FDP and SPD talks: As it seems that the CDU/CSU is still more than unsure whether they want to be part of the next government, the FDP will enter talks with election winner Olaf Scholz and his SPD. First polls indicate that most Germans would now prefer the SPD leading the next government instead of the CDU/CSU. Therefore, it is no coincidence that Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatine Malu Dreyer (SPD) and FDP secretary-general Wissing (also from Rhineland-Palatine) are part of both parties exploratory teams: Rhineland-Palatine is the only region in Germany where a traffic light coalition (SPD-FDP-Greens) is currently in office and Dreyer and Wissing are viewed as the architects of this alliance.
- Talking with the CDU/CSU: Both, the Greens and the FDP have scheduled their talks with a discordant CDU/CSU. There are CDU officials that don’t want to join the government after this election debacle, there are CSU officials like Söder that would probably join the government but not with Armin Laschet and then there is Armin Laschet whose only option of political survival seems to joining the government. It’s hard to predict the results of this talks – maybe they are even only of symbolic character in the end.
Role of the Greens: The Greens these days must ask themselves what they prefer. The left party base clearly wants the SPD as a partner but there are strong forces in the party leadership that wouldn’t mind being the only center-left power in a Jamaica (CDU/CSU-FDP-Greens) coalition. Especially, from the environment of powerful Minister-President of Baden-Wurttemberg Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) we know that he would love to cooperate with the CDU/CSU. And he is a strong voice and of course part of the Greens’ exploratory team.
#THEÜBERSICHT AND THE CRYSTAL BALL:
Time for some bold guesses. You can find these and some information about how the official process will go on from now on in our newest #THEÜBERSICHT already mentioned above.
As with every crystal ball, no guarantees – those are our best guesses, based on some facts, inside information, (a majority decision within the Krautshell team), and subject to changes.
So, here you go:
- Olaf Scholz (SPD) has the Kanzler Wumms: The next government is headed by a Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). We have a traffic light coalition (SPD-FDP-Greens) in office by Christmas (latest). The CDU/CSU go to the opposition and Armin Laschet gets sacked for the worst election outcome ever. He is only ordinary member of parliament and the important position of parliamentary group leader goes to someone else.
- Habeck (Greens) is the new Vice-Chancellor: Habeck and Baerbock switch the frontrunner role. Habeck becomes Vice-Chancellor and to make this credible, he heads a new “Super”-Ministry of Environment and Climate Protection that has the right to monitor draft regulations from other ministries regarding their compatibility with the Paris Climate Agreement targets.
- Baerbock (Greens) for new transatlantic relationship: In the new government, Annalena Baerbock, who built herself an image as a foreign affairs expert, becomes Minister of Foreign Affairs. She puts an increased effort into strengthening a sovereign EU and utilizes similarities between the Greens and the US Democrats to build better transatlantic relationships again.
- Lindner (FDP) controls the money: FDP party leader Lindner becomes the new Minister of Finance. He controls the budget for the various spending ideas of SPD and Greens to remain some budgetary discipline and prevent Germany from accumulating too much debt.