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Most Downloaded Articles
- If I Could Hold a Seminar for Political Journalists… by Fiorina, Morris P.
- If Everyone Votes Their Party, Why Do Presidential Election Outcomes Vary So Much? by Shaw, Daron
- Independent Leaners as Policy Partisans: An Examination of Party Identification and Policy Views by Magleby, David B. and Nelson, Candice
- Delegation, Control, and the Study of Public Bureaucracy by Moe, Terry M.
- The Disappearing--but Still Important--Swing Voter by Mayer, William G.
The Grand Coalition and a Changing Political Order: Shifting Alliances and a New Era in German Politics
1College of William and Mary
Citation Information: The Forum. Volume 5, Issue 3, Pages –, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, DOI: 10.2202/1540-8884.1191, October 2007
- Published Online:
Since its 2005 federal election, Germany has been governed by the country's two historically strongest political rivals, the center-right Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) and center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD). Despite initial hope in some quarters that this broad-based Grand Coalition under Chancellor Angela Merkel could overcome partisan gridlock and enact major policy changes, seeking to work together has only fed frictions within as well between both partners. A resulting stalemate has reinforced the more skeptical view that this government was in fact destined to remain at most a transitional one. It only came about in the first place due to an increasing fractionalization of the party system, as the declining core support for CDU/CSU and SPD boosted several smaller contenders, yet also denied either of two more familiar federal alliances--center-right (CDU/CSU-Liberal) or center-left (SPD-Green)--a clear parliamentary majority. There is thus widespread and mounting speculation that Germany's next national election will produce a wholly new governing constellation, one based on multiple parties, perhaps one crossing all traditional bloc divisions, or possibly one drawn entirely from the left; Germany might conceivably even enter a phase of minority government. While to be sure all such scenarios remain hypothetical, the Federal Republic does seem poised on the edge of a new political era.