Could NATO Be the Downfall of Angela Merkel’s Government?
Germany’s coalition government is shaky, and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) may be the first brick to crumble. Unhappy with its relative weakness—the center-left party has been overshadowed as a junior partner to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc during three out of her four terms—SPD politicians are desperately looking for ways to revive their party’s fortunes. To stave off existential losses during the European Union parliamentary and German state elections this year, the party is portraying itself as a crusader for welfare issues at the expense of Germany’s international credibility.
The SPD has tried to make its mark by shunning defense and security in favor of social spending. In an Infratest Dimap poll last month, only 3 percent of Germans said they believed that any budget increases should go to defense. Three-quarters of those polled chose education, health, or infrastructure. In turn, the SPD’s new strategy has yielded a small uptick in the polls.