Collapse of preliminary coalition talks for German federal government

Author (Person)
Series Details November 2017
Publication Date 27/11/2017
Content Type

Further information:

The Liberals (FDP) announced on 19 November 2017 they were pulling out of the informal negotiations with the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the Greens which aimed at finding common ground for a federal coalition government. While the reasons behind the collapse of the talks were not entirely clear, parties remained divided over taxation, migration and environmenal politices.

The situation put German Chancellor and CDU leader Angela Merkel in a difficult position. According to analysts, there were four options on the table going forward - a revival of the negotiations, the rule of a minority government under CDU leadership, a comeback of the Social Democrats (SPD) to the negotiating table in order to renew the outgoing grand coalition or a snap election in early 2018. Ms Merkel indicated the latter alternative as her preferred one.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged all parties in Parliament to rise up to the expectations of the electorate and open themselves to the task of finding a solution to what was named as the most serious political crisis in the country since World War II. The SPD leader Martin Schulz dismissed the possibility of regenerating a grand coalition with the Christian Democrats, keeping the party's position following the Federal Election on 24 September.

Germany's neighbouring countries expressed their concern at talks collapse, considering the importance any German federal government embodies in terms of the European Union and the challenges it faced.

Amid political pressure, Mr Schulz came back on his word and indicated the SPD's readiness in holding talks with the Christian Democrats to solve the political crisis. Talks began on 30 November 2017.

Background information:

The Federal Election of September 2017 resulted in further fragmentation of Germany's Bundestag. The Christian Democrats secured an electoral victory but suffered substantial losses. While the Social Democrats did not benefit from that, the Liberals managed to make a comeback to the Parliament following a disastrous outcome in 2013. The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) emerged as a new parliamentary stakeholder.

A more fragmented Parliament meant the Christian Democrats needed to join forces with both the Liberals and the Greens to find a majority that could support a new federal government. A so-called 'Jamaica Coalition', if successful, would have been a first in German politics.

+ German Federal Election 2017: Results and Analysis
+ Coalition talks for a federal government following the 2017 Federal Election

Reports and analyses on the collapse of informal talks concerning the formation of a coalition government in Germany, following the Federal Election in September 2017.

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