passed to German legislative elections, German Chancellor Angela Merkel remains in office on a temporary basis until a new government is formed. Strictly speaking, the law does not state that the party, for example the most voted party, gets a mandate to form a government, although the parties themselves usually see the situation in this way and speak of a “popular mandate”.
There is no deadline for the end of the elections and negotiations between the two parties. So, in theory, Merkel could stay in office for a few more months. It is customary in Germany to use Christmas as a reference, as the Federal Chancellor traditionally addresses the nation at this time of year.
The winner of the election, SPD candidate Olaf Schulz, was asked on television if he hoped to deliver this year’s Christmas address in Merkel’s place. He replied, “We will do everything in our power to achieve this.”
If negotiations expand, Merkel could break the record for a federal chancellor in power. This will be after December 17th. Current record of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, with 5,869 days.
Temporary advisor’s authority
Temporary, Merkel It continues to exercise all its powers. This includes the appointment of ministers. In theory, she could dismiss her temporary ministers, and take an oath to new ministers.
During this period, Merkel must also fulfill all the obligations of the head of government of Germany. It is very likely, for example, that you will be at the next G-20 summit in Rome at the end of October.
Angela Merkel was the first woman to rule Germany and the first to arrive in East Germany – Photo: Wolfgang Rathai/Reuters
Merkel simply cannot take with her all the gifts she received while in office. This is prohibited by law. Since gifts were given to the head of government, and not the person in charge, they are the property of the state.
It is the task of the Bundestag to elect a new Federal Chancellor, who was elected in the last elections and must be formed within 30 days after the elections. By ritual, the President of Germany nominates a name to be chancellor, and parliamentarians vote.
In theory, the president can nominate any name, even if it does not belong to the Bundestag. But in practice, it can only be ruled by a majority in Parliament. Thus, the parties that manage to form a governing coalition propose a name to the president, who then puts it to a vote.
This name is the name of the candidate for the position of party chancellor who leads the coalition. Thus, this time, it could be Olaf Schultz, of the Social Democratic Party, or Armin Laschet, of the coalition of conservative parties, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU), better known as União. These are the only two candidates with the number of votes that will enable them to lead the government.
Forming a government coalition
Olaf Schulz, leader of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, as of September 27, 2021 – Photo: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters
The Bundestag’s tendency to fragment, with more seats, creates difficulties in forming a government coalition, as parties with very different projects need to reach an agreement that will give them a majority in Parliament.
For this, they start polls, which at some point result, or not, in negotiations. What is negotiated is the implementation or non-implementation of the proposals made by each party in the electoral campaign, the distribution of ministries and, in the end, the coalition agreement that contains everything that was agreed to be implemented in the next legislature.
Usually, the party with the best votes starts the elections with potential partners, in the spirit of the “people’s mandate” to form the government, as defended by the parties themselves.
This year is different. It is clear that the SPD, as the winner of the elections, sees itself as having the right to identify with the other parties, in this case the Green Party and the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP). But the CDU/CSU candidate, Armin Laschet, also initially announced that he was determined to form a government.
The next day, amid internal criticism expected to only grow in the next few days, and after Conservative leaders said the union had not clearly won the election, Laschet retracted and said he did not necessarily see his party with a mandate to form a government. but He reiterated that he was ready to form a government with the Greens and the Liberals If it becomes necessary.
This year there Three possible government coalitionsConsidering that all other parties had previously ruled out an alliance with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), due to their extremist positions.
Armin Laschet, Christian Democratic Union candidate and prime minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, along with German Prime Minister Angela Merkel and firefighters in Schalkesmülle on September 5 – Photo: REUTERS/Thelo Schmuelgen
The three options are the call Traffic Light Coalition, due to the green, red and yellow colors of the green parties, the Social Democratic Party and the Free Democratic Party; Jamaica, because of the union of the colors, black, green and liberals; It was considered improbable by the participants, the so-called Groko (abbreviation of the Great Alliance in German), which brings together the two largest conferences, SPD and CDU / CSU.
More likely, at least at this point immediately after the elections, is the semaphore coalition, where it will be led by the winning party, the Social Democratic Party, along with two ever-younger partners willing to rule.
The likelihood of such an alliance increases even more because the FDP feels pressure not to repeat its decision four years ago, when He abandoned the months-long negotiations and was left with the burden of rendering them useless government formation.
At the time, the Liberals’ decision to reissue Groko, which the SPD had ignored during the election campaign, ended up being just as the SPD and Union now do.
The Jamaica coalition could happen, too, but it lost steam after leaders of the CDU and CSU made it clear that they understood the election result as a defeat rather than a popular mandate to form a government.
It is impossible to predict how long it will take for Germany to form a new government, but the experience of previous elections, which also resulted in the fragmentation of the Bundestag, shows that it may take several weeks, up to months. At that time the government was not formed until after 172 days or six months.
In 2017, Negotiations were underway for the Jamaica coalition, but the FDP He ended up pulling the handbrake and jumping on the grounds that the Federation was making too many concessions to the Greens.
The phrase with which liberal leader Christian Lindner justified the decision to abandon negotiations became part of the tale of German politics: “It is better not to judge than to judge wrongly.”
Faced with this failure, the question arose whether the Social Democratic Party, contrary to its campaign promise and the wishes of the base, would not, after all, accept the entry of a new Grocco with the Federation. Even the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, of the Social Democratic Party, appealed to the party leadership to review its position. The Social Democrats eventually agreed, but only after internal consultations with associates, paving the way for the formation of the fourth Merkel government.
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