The Greens Face a Shaky Future in Government Coalition

Ever since the drastic losses for the Greens, SPD and FDP in the state parliament elections of Bavaria and Hesse on Oct. 8, analysts have been speculating about the inevitable consequences it would have on the federal government, a coalition of the same three parties. Talk has been rife of a cabinet reshuffle, and even a replacement of the coalition is not ruled out. Indeed, momentum is growing in the FDP party base for quitting the government entirely, which is blamed for the electoral debacle in Bavaria (cf. SAS 45/23).

Now, another scenario for replacing the ruling coalition has emerged in the discussion: a “Grand Coalition” between the Christian Democrats (CDU-CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD), perhaps enhanced by the FDP. This became public when the acting CDU Prime Minister of Hesse, Boris Rhein, stated Nov. 10, that he would not continue his coalition with the Greens, but seek to partner with the SPD. That means that the Greens are out, together with some of their pet projects, such as unrestricted migration, radical ecologism harming the farmers’ interests, gender policies, and preference for climate policies. The latter is at the bottom of the 10-point list of policy agreements between the CDU and SPD in Hesse, while the other three rank much higher. This, of course, only concerns the State of Hesse, but it could be a prelude to forming a new government without the Greens at the federal level as well – possibly well before the next scheduled national elections in the Autumn of 2025.

A growing number of citizens would favor a change of government, as confirmed by an opinion poll published past week by the “Deutschlandtrend” special of the television channel ARD: 41% of those polled, are for early elections, while only 32% want the current government to remain in power. Although 62% of SPD supporters now say they are against a change, that percentage is expected to shrink in the coming weeks.

After all, the chairwoman of the SPD in Hesse, Nancy Faeser, is Interior Minister of the federal government, and she approved the establishment of a coalition with the CDU there. It is hard to imagine that she could have okayed the expulsion of the Greens without at least the tacit consent of SPD Chancellor Olaf Scholz, as both of them are well aware of the political repercussions it will have for the Greens in the Scholz cabinet. Just a few days before the Oct. 8 election, Prime Minister Boris Rhein had stated that his political agenda included a return to nuclear power and to the development of thermonuclear fusion — an absolute red cloth for the Greens! To what extent the SPD in the future Hesse cabinet would be willing to reverse its long-standing opposition to nuclear power remains to be seen, but it would undoubtedly influence a possible “grand coalition” in Berlin. There have been several closed-door meetings between SPD Chancellor Olaf Scholz and CDU chairman Friedrich Merz, the real contents of which have not been made public. In the present Bundestag, CDU-CSU and SPD have a clear majority, with 403 seats against 331 for all other parties combined…

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