Crunch Time Germany: AfD Rises Above SPD in Polls, Grand Coalition Not
Support for SPD is sinking like a rock.The latest poll has support at 15.5% whereas AfD has 16%. This is the highest poll for Afd and the lowest in history for SPD.
Martin Schulz (SPD) and Angela Merkel (CDU/CSU) agreed to another "grand coalition" under pressure from the German president after a failed election months ago.
The compromise was an attempt to please everyone. Instead, it showed what hypocrites Merkel and Schulz are.
German media thinks the SPD referendum to ratify the "grand coalition" is a done deal, but I believe it's 50-50 at best.
The key to the referendum is whether or not the 240,000 or so rank-and-file members want to stay in power more than they want to get rid of Merkel.
The referendum starts today and runs through March 4.
Eurointelligence has some interesting comments.
We urge readers to ignore any comments at this stage that express probabilities of one side or the other winning. This looks like a close contest, and the outcome will depend on events that will be unfolding in the next two weeks. Both sides have everything to play for.
It is generally true that the more senior SPD representatives - mayors, and deputies in federal, state, and local legislatures - tend to favour the grand coalition, while activists tend to be more opposed. It is at this stage hard to say how the terrible opinion polls will shape the views of SPD members, and how they view the cause of the party's decline. If they believe, as we do, that consecutive grand coalitions have deprived the SPD of their own identity, they may well risk an election defeat if this would bring about a renewal. But it is a risky choice that some members might not want to make.
Suddeutsche Zeitung writes this morning that there is now a campaign by SPD members in North-Rhine Westphalia, which accounts for a quarter of the votes, against the grand coalition. This campaign has its own website - nogroko.de - and encompasses senior SPD members in the state legislature, as well as members of the party's executive committee in the state. Four years ago, 75% of members voted in favour of the grand coalition, but there was no contest then. The opponents are now much better organised, and they also get TV airtime.
The head of the young socialists, Kevin Kuhnert, was on TV last night telling SPD members that a vote against the grand coalition would not trigger new elections but lead to a minority government. That's a potentially interesting argument, because Angela Merkel and the SPD leadership cannot credibly defuse it. If Merkel were to rule it out categorically, President Steinmeier could nominate another CDU candidate as leader of a minority government. In the final round of voting, that person would only require a relative majority against other candidates. If there is no CDU candidate, he could nominate an SPD candidate, and thus force the CDU to put forth their own candidate. A minority government might not last the full term, and it might lead to a renewed attempt at a Jamaica coalition, possibly under a different leader.
Jamaica Coalition vs a Natural Coalition
The Jamaica Coalition is a combination of CDU/CSU, FDP, and the Greens whose party flags are the same colors as the Jamaica national flag.
There is nothing natural about it.
CDU/CSU are at odds with the Greens and the FDP over immigration, the environment, and the creation of an EU superstate.
Jamaica is unworkable, which is why those coalition talks failed in the first place.
Black, Blue, Yellow
A far more reasonable, and much more natural coalition than Jamaica would be CDU/CSU, AfD, and FDP.
Other than AfD being Eurosceptic, those three parties have far more agreements and workable compromises than the Jamaica Coalition.
Black, Blue, Yellow makes sense, but no one wants to work with AfD. The politicians would rather cut off their noses.
AfD is accused of being ultra-right wing with ties to Neo-Nazism, but their overall ideas, other than Euroscepticism, would allow better compromises overall than the ill-fated Jamaica fiasco.
The ironic result is that if another "Grand Coalition" forms, AfD will be the largest opposition party in the German legislatures, giving it extra parliamentary rights.
That point has to be on the minds of the SPD rank-and-file voting members.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock