Merkel’s Mistake: German Coalition Attempt Collapses


From the Washington Post:

Collapse of German coalition talks deals Merkel blow, raises prospect of new elections

By Griff Witte November 20 at 3:37 AM

BERLIN — The sudden collapse of talks to form a coalition government left German politics in turmoil on Monday, with Angela Merkel reckoning with one of the worst crises of her 12-year chancellorship.

The breakdown of the talks ends the possibility that Europe’s largest economy will be governed by a never-before tried coalition among Merkel’s conservatives, the pro-business Free Democrats and the environmentalist Greens. The country is now facing the prospect of new elections.

That awkward alliance — dubbed the “Jamaica coalition,” because of the parties’ colors — was considered the only viable path to a stable government following inconclusive September elections.

But after weeks of contentious negotiations over asylum, tax and environmental policies, the Free Democrats unexpectedly pulled out just before midnight Sunday, leaving Merkel with few options — none of them attractive. …

The possibility of a new election that could open the way to further gains for the far-right Alternative for Democracy Party (AfD) — and further unsettle the politics of a country that has been Europe’s rock of stability — sent the euro sliding in early trading. …

Although the parties were considered far apart on key issues, most observers had predicted that they would put aside differences to avoid another election that could enhance support for the anti-immigrant AfD, which won seats in Parliament for the first time this year after gaining nearly 13 percent of the vote. …

But asylum rules and the country’s reliance on coal proved to be the sticking points.

The Greens had insisted that refugees who have won asylum in Germany be allowed to bring their families to join them.

What could be better for the German environment than millions more Muslims?

By the way, since I’m basically a cognitive critic interested in how and why people think in some ruts but not in others, I’m struck by how this lengthy article in the Washington Post never mentions Dr. Merkel’s decision in late summer 2015 to let a million Muslims march on Germany.

One reason this momentous event is disappearing down the memory hole in the U.S., it strikes me, is that at least in English we don’t have a simple term to express that momentous event, the way that “Brexit” makes it easy to remember and discuss the subsequent reaction in Britain.

So what should we call it? I like Merkel’s Mistake, but that probably won’t be allowed into the Washington Post.

[Comment at Unz.com]