ER Editor: We also recommend this AFP report via TheLocal.de titled Threat of German government collapse looms as chief of Merkel’s junior coalition partner resigns and this from Bloomberg, Merkel Coalition Looks Hard at Options After Key Resignation.
“The Coalition Has Come To An End”: Merkel’s Government On Verge Of Collapse After SPD Chief Resigns
Merkel’s shocking announcement last week that she was “unretiring” after the CDU’s abysmal showing in last week’s EU Parliamentary election – the party’s worst result ever in a national election, which cost the CDU/CSU’s position as the largest party in the bloc’s largest legislative body (and, as a result, the Chancellor would withdraw her support from her own hand-picked successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer or AKK) – has itself been thrown into chaos after the leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partner, the SPD, resigned on Sunday from her party’s top posts, raising the possibility that Germany’s embattled government could collapse.
Andrea Nahles, who heads – or rather headed – the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), came under intense pressure after voters handed the party its worst European election results a week ago as Europe continues to revolt against establishment parties.
Ahead of three key state elections in eastern Germany in September, the SPD had initially planned to re-examine its partnership with Merkel’s centre-right CDU-CSU alliance in the autumn. But ahead of the planned leadership vote on Tuesday, Nahles said she would give up her jobs as both party chief and head of its parliamentary group, the AFP reported.
“The discussions in the parliamentary group and the broad feedback from the party showed me that the support necessary for the exercise of my offices is no longer there,” Nahles said much to Merkel’s shock, as suddenly the coalition government exists only in theory.
The 48-year-old said she hoped her resignation “would open the possibility that the succession can take place in an orderly manner”.
Merkel – whose approval has also collapsed ever since she admitted over a million Syrian refugees in Germany as a result of her disastrous “Open door” policy – said on Sunday that Germany’s government would push on with its work despite the setback.
“What I want to say for the government is that we will continue with our work with all seriousness and with great responsibility,” she said.
Maybe not: speaking to Bild, Harald Christ, deputy chief of the SPD’s economy forum, said that Nahles’s decision had put the future of the coalition in serious doubt.
“To all those who are happy today: it is a great loss for German politics. Nahles stands for the existence of the GroKo – whose stability is now in question,” he said, using the German short-form for grand coalition.
Some of those who were quite happy are all the newly ascendant parties, like the Greens and AfD, which have torn Germany’s centrist system apart, resulting in an unprecedented (well, one precedent) divergence between the extreme left and right.
Which is why anxiously watching as the SPD tumbled into disarray, CDU heavyweights urged their centre-left partner not to endanger the coalition: “The voter mandate is valid for four years and political parties must ensure stability in difficult times,” the CDU’s Bundestag deputy president Hans-Peter Friedrich told Bild, clearly anticipating the collapse of the government.
“An early end of the GroKo would only benefit the political fringes.”
Of course, Merkel’s CDU itself has been scrambling to retain voters, after it too scored a record low in the European elections.
Following Nahles’ bombshell, the CDU said both Kramp-Karrenbauer and Merkel would address the press later on Sunday. But the far-right AfD had already counted its chickens, and said the government was already disintegrating.
“Not only is the SPD dissolving, the GroKo too is walking the political stage only as one of the undead,” wrote the co-leader of the AfD’s group in parliament, Alice Weidel, on Twitter.
According to the AFP, some of Germany’s largest newspapers reached similar conclusions.
Bild noted that “the SPD is bleeding to death. The GroKo too”. And the Sueddeutsche daily predicted that “the coalition has come to an end”, adding that “the Social Democrats have just defeated the woman who, with great effort, brought the alliance together. What’s the point now then of continuing to torment themselves with this?”
The point is that the alternative is the beginning of the end for Europe as we know it, and Brussels will do everything in its power, and beyond, to prevent giving power back to the people.