If you ask your friends who leads Germany or who has influence in the Euro zone, chances are big they will say Angela Merkel. People everywhere know who she is. In Germany, she is widely respected and well-liked, and her three-toned necklace trended on Twitter as she debated her way into the election. She is the face of German politics and the German people and I’m sure I’ve seen footage of her drinking beer in a tent. For certain I’ve seen her in wax. Angie is ‘IN’ – that’s really the only thing you need to know if you want the 2 second version of German politics.
However, that would be way too easy. Even though the Chancellor and her party were enormously successful in this election, they were just short of a majority in Parliament. That means they have to find a partner from the other elected parties to help them rule. Shockingly, the party which has ruled together with Frau Merkel’s party (CDU) seemingly forever, is ‘OUT’. For the first time since 1949, the FDP (liberals) didn’t even get enough votes to be represented in Parliament; they didn’t reach the required 5% (reaching only 4.8%).
Losing the FDP means that Germany loses its Foreign Minister because he was from the FDP party. Because his party is ‘OUT’, it can no longer form a coalition with Chancellor Merkel’s party and so he, too is ‘OUT’. It seems like a long happy marriage ending in a Las Vegas divorce. And this week the CDU is looking for another bride (or groom); the SPD (social democrats) or the Greens because they need a partner to have a majority in Parliament. But because Angie is so ‘IN’, some have expressed that it is dangerous to marry her and her party because they will be swallowed up in her popularity. Being ‘IN’ has it’s ‘OUTs’.
In the last election, you may have heard something about the Pirates, “Piraten” as the party is called in Germany. I never really figured out their platform except that they had something to do with new technology. But they are now ‘OUT’ so it doesn’t matter anyway, and this year’s alternative dump the Euro party (AfD) didn’t make it in either. They never were ‘IN’.
The Greens had a disappointing result which caused some of their leaders to resign, but still they are a potential partner in marriage with the CDU because they at least had 8.4%. Most Germans, however want to see a marriage with Germany’s second largest party, the SPD and the CDU. I’m not sure how long it will take before we see who Chancellor Merkel chooses to take down the aisle, but she will need a partner. Being ‘IN’ is pretty cool, but it’s not as simple as it might seem!