German parties seal coalition deal to appoint Scholz chancellor – POLITICO – .

German parties seal coalition deal to appoint Scholz chancellor – POLITICO – .

Press play to listen to this article

BERLIN – The leaders of the three parties due to form the new German government have sealed a coalition agreement to make Social Democrat Olaf Scholz the country’s next chancellor.

Subject to the pact being endorsed by the parties, the coalition of Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Liberal Democrats (FDP) will take office early next month, ending 16 years of conservative government led by Angela Merkel.

With Merkel not running for a new term, the center-left Social Democrats finished first in the September parliamentary elections, ahead of the outgoing Chancellor’s Christian Democrats. This put Scholz, the finance minister of the last Merkel cabinet, in pole position to lead the next government.

Scholz will assume the chancellery amid a skyrocketing increase in coronavirus cases across Germany, a development that is pushing politicians to grapple with potential new restrictions and ways to increase the country’s overdue vaccination rate.

Scholz will present the coalition agreement on Wednesday afternoon alongside SPD officials and Green and FDP leaders.

The pact ends nearly five weeks of formal negotiations, involving around 300 negotiators developing policy positions in 22 working groups. The teams worked behind closed doors, with party leaders repeatedly refusing to publicly reveal much about the talks.

From the start, the SPD, Greens and FDP – known as the Traffic Light Coalition, due to their respective colors of red, green and yellow – strove to appear civilized and optimistic at all times, trying to contrast their talks with the mess and hapless coalition talks of 2017 between Merkel’s conservatives, the Greens and the FDP.

Their efforts to form a united front even drew mockery in the German media, especially after the Greens and FDP leaders took a selfie to demonstrate their team spirit.

But peace has generally been maintained, even though the FDP and the Greens were never seen as natural allies, given the liberal and fiscal ideology of the FPD and the Green’s emphasis on the environment and social equality.

Navigation not always smooth

Even hours before the revelation of the coalition agreement, negotiators were silent. Wednesday morning, Konstantin von Notz, one of the main negotiators of the Greens, tweeted an enigmatic image of the Berlin sky, where blue could be seen glistening through thick gray clouds.

When details have slipped through the cracks in recent weeks, disagreements have arisen.

Earlier this month, the Greens complained about a lack of ambition in the coalition’s climate policies, prompting them to pressure the SPD and FDP. That impasse was broken on Tuesday when the three parties agreed to phase out coal in Germany by 2030, eight years earlier than initially expected – a victory for the Greens.

Meanwhile, it has long been speculated that FDP leader Christian Lindner would become the new finance minister, a key condition for selling off any FDP grassroots deal. Giving Lindner the post amounts to an important compromise on the part of the Greens, given their advocacy for looser tax rules in Europe – a concept anathema to Lindner.

In return, the Greens should be rewarded with two major ministries for their own leaders, Robert Habeck and Annalena Baerbock: a new Ministry of Economy and Climate for the first, and the prestigious Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the second.

In any case, before the oaths of office can be taken, the agreement will first be submitted to the larger parties for consideration. The Greens plan to consult their members on the pact, while the SPD will vote on it at an extraordinary party conference scheduled for December 4. The FDP plans to do the same at a party conference on December 5.

If all parties approve, this will be done in time for Scholz to be elected chancellor in the week starting December 6, on schedule set by the parties – and just days before Merkel overtakes Helmut Kohl to become the post on oldest in the country. war chancellor on December 17.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here