Five ways Germany can help Canada set the rules of coalition government

It’s not quite the end of the world for Germany, but the sudden announcement of negotiations over whether two conservative parties and a social-democrat party have agreed to form a new coalition government is…

Five ways Germany can help Canada set the rules of coalition government

It’s not quite the end of the world for Germany, but the sudden announcement of negotiations over whether two conservative parties and a social-democrat party have agreed to form a new coalition government is a sign that politicians there are learning new lessons on how to construct coalitions.

In Germany, there was widespread panic following the recent Bavarian election in which the Christian Social Union (CSU) became the dominant party in that southern German state but its alliance with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) had been weakened.

After CSU voters deserted the pro-immigration Green party at the time, and when the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party gained, both parties opted for a “grand coalition” government with the Social Democrats (SPD).

Packing as much as it could into her programme in the first coalition government, Merkel was able to survive the vote of confidence that came after that. She was replaced by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and a new coalition was formed.

This time, in what was a long-drawn-out election campaign, party representatives decided that the CSU’s leader, Horst Seehofer, would run as a candidate for chancellor with the main election goal to form a “grand coalition”.

After about a year of negotiations, with no conclusive agreements forthcoming, a three-way agreement emerged and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued a mandate for the negotiations. The new German government could open new chapter in European politics and will be the first country in Europe to run under a coalition agreement.

Germany’s new coalition, which is able to share powers between different parties (see table for a summary), highlights five ways in which the country has lessons for Canadian politicians.

Leave a Comment