German Gridlock

A Political Logjam in Berlin

Germany's dynamic duo? Sigmar Gabriel and Angela Merkel. Source: imago/comonlens
Germany's dynamic duo? Sigmar Gabriel and Angela Merkel.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Mrs. Merkel’s awkward right-left coalition will likely soon be paralyzed by the state elections in 2016.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Germany’s so-called “grand coalition” is made up of Chancellor Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), their Bavarian CSU allies, and the center-left Social Democrats.
    • The coalition commands 80 percent of seats in parliament.
    • The government has so far been unwilling to tackle pressing issues like euro zone reform or revamping Germany’s immigration policies.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel was in a good mood Wednesday as he presented the government’s annual assessment of Europe’s largest economy.

“The German economy is in good condition,” said the chairman of the center-Social Democratic Party.

He said the German economy would continue growing in 2015, as would the number of people in work. He credited the foresightful government policies that led to flexible corporate labor and industrial policies, and solid finances.

But alongside the self-congratulation, Mr. Gabriel said: “We should not have any illusions about the major challenges that lie before us.”

These challenges must be mastered in 2015. The political gifts have already been handed out. By 2016, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s unwieldy right-left coalition of conservative Christian Democrats and Social Democrats will be paralyzed by state elections in Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony-Anhalt, Berlin and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

And a year later, the coalition partners will be vying in the general election.

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