Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
16 October 2012
Germany is heading towards a new Grand Coalition between the country’s two leading political parties, the right-wing Christian Democrats (CDU) and the right-wing Social Democrats (SPD), in next autumn’s elections to the lower house of the German Parliament (the Bundestag), according to predictions based on the latest opinion polls.
Opinion polls carried out by the Forsa Institute suggests that the CDU will get 36 per cent of votes cast and the SPD just over 30 per cent – enough to give a comfortable working majority to such a coalition.
This would be the second CDU/SPD Grand Coalition with CDU leader, Angela Merkel, as Chancellor (Prime Minister).
If the coalition does come about following the elections in September 2013, Merkel’s partner in the coalition is likely to be the new SPD boss, Peer Steinbrück, who was Finance Minister in the last Grand Coalition from 2005 to 2009.
The current government in Germany is a lesser coalition between the CDU and the smaller Liberal Party (FDP), which is expected to do badly in the 2013 elections.
The avowed purpose of a Grand Coalition is to reduce the influence of representatives of the minor parties – the Pirates, the Greens, the Liberals (FDP) and the Left (Die Linke) – and so prevent, as far as possible, any views other than the status quo being voiced in parliament.
The message to the electorate is: “There is only one possible point of view and that is ours.”
Another Grand Coalition is on the cards because the policy differences between the CDU and the SPD are imperceptible. An adviser to Peer Steinbrück is reported as saying that the political difference between the CDU and the SPD was “thinner than a sheet of paper”.
Antigone1984 has expatiated at length on the hollowing out of democracy represented by the homogenization – Gleichschaltung – of party political policies. In western so-called democracies, political parties fight not on the basis of differences of principle or policy, because there are none: they have no principles and their policies are identical.
That there is genuine competition between the parties at the hustings is undeniable. But the object is not to provide the electorate with alternative political options. The aim is to secure as large a parliamentary majority as possible, thus giving the party cupola as much power as possible vis-à-vis the other parties, and also, not unimportantly, to pay off the party’s loyal rank-and-file apparatchiks with as many lucrative parliamentary seats and sinecures as possible.
It is interesting that eleven months before the German parliamentary elections the two main parties appear already to be brazenly jettisoning any pretence that they will be competing on the basis of different political objectives.
For a more in-depth analysis of this subject, readers might like to check out the article mentioned in item 2 below: “Partitocracy v. Democracy”.
CDU: Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands
The CDU is active in 15 of the 16 German Länder. In the sixteenth, Bavaria, it is allied with the CSU (Christlich-Soziale Union in Bayern).
SPD: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
FDP: Freie Demokratische Partei
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
5.Ladder (21 June 2012)
6. A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
7. A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.