The votes in the German election have been counted, with exception of the delayed election in Dresden which will take place in two weeks – but the outcome is still unclear. Die Welt reports the outcome thus:
CDU/CSU (Christian Democrats): 35.2%
SPD (Social Democrats): 34.3%
FDP (Liberals): 9.8%
Die Linke(Left Party): 8.7%
Grüne (Greens): 8.1%
If you do the math you’ll quickly find that neither the black-and-yellow coalition of Christian Democrats and Liberals nor the red-and-green coalition of Social Democrats and Greens got majority on their own. This fuels speculation of the grand coalition with CDU/CSU and SPD – but if that’s to happen they need to agree on a Chancellor, something that appears to be difficult. Both CDU leader Angela Merkel and current SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schröder have declared themselves as winners of the election – a bold claim one might think. Usually the question of Chancellorship goes to the biggest party, which means that Merkel would get the job, but Schröder has been saying that he will only get into such a coalition if he remains Chancellor. There is also some speculation of a black-yellow-and-green coalition – that is the CDU/CSU and FDP being joined by the Greens. Most people coming from the three parties say that, while they’ll certainly discuss it, they are too far from each other politically for such a construction to work smoothly.
Where it will all end, I have no idea. I’m guessing it will end up with a CDU-led grand coalition, but it’s certainly difficult to tell. Because this is Germany a minority government is out of the question. The important thing is that reform work continues – Mr Schröder has been doing some work, though progress is slow and there’s still a lot to do. I expect we won’t know the real result of this election in quite some time yet.