Instability Beneath the Surface – Germany's Grand Coalition Continues
After casting their ballots nearly six months ago, Germans finally found out on Sunday that Chancellor Merkel of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) will enter her fourth term in office with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) in tow to form a Grand Coalition government.
The SPD has dragged its heels over the prospect of serving as a junior partner to Chancellor Merkel, since it has lost significant support after doing so twice already. But the SPD leadership appealed to its members to swallow a bitter pill, so that Berlin can get back to business and Germany could avoid repeat elections. Two-thirds of SPD members listened and voted to allow for continuity with a Grand Coalition – which in past Merkel governments coincided with economic growth and international renown for Germany. Yet the forced arrangement this time around could hamper Germany’s global influence, because both the CDU and SPD are paralyzed with identity crises and with a combative opposition at home.