Merkel May Not Want to Win

A blog about business and economics.
June 30 2013 10:44 AM

Would Angela Merkel Regret "Losing" The Next German Federal Election?

German chancellor Angela Merkel visits the office of former west-German chancellor Konrad Adenauer at the former chancellory Palais Schaumburg during an open house event in Bonn, western Germany, June 29, 2013.

Photo by MARTIN MEISSNER/AFP/Getty Images

Quentin Peel has a very informative piece about Angela Merkel's domestic political strategy, that does offer one thought worth contesting:

The chancellor’s strategy – if it is a strategy, and not simply her natural political instinct – carries a high risk. If her liberal FDP partners cannot win more than five per cent support, they will not win any seats in parliament, and she will not have a centre-right majority. She will have to bargain with the SPD or Greens to form a government. They might even have a majority on their own.

The fact is that for all the reasons Peel laid out in the piece, the odds of an SPD-Green majority are exceptionally low. The real stakes in the German election are whether Merkel's current center-right coalition will win a new majority or else whether her Christian Democratic Union will be "forced" to govern in some sort of coalition with the SPD or the Greens. But while there are obviously lots of conservative German businessmen and CDU stakeholders who'd regret that outcome, it's not clear that Merkel would.

As Peel details at some length, Merkel's leadership style is very open to tacking toward the ideological center and it's by no means obvious that there's some secret right-wing agenda she's yearning to spring on Germany. She had an extremely successful first term as Chancellor in a grand coalition with the SPD and might be very happy to do it again.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



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