There is currently so much dynamics in German politic that I thought I put this into perspective for my international friends.
Chancelor Angela Merkel is obviously known abroad and what I find interesting is that her leadership is not questioned too much in international media. However, if we had elections in Germany this Sunday, the politics of the country would take a pretty big turn. According to the latest poll, the most likely outcome would be a government led by the Green Party!
How crazy is this, you might (rightly) wonder!?
Let me try to explain this in short. The weird thing that happened after the last election in September (just a year ago) is that the new government of the Christian-Democrats (CDU & CSU) and ‘Liberals’ (FDP) got a pretty decent majority in the Bundestag (main chamber) and also held a convincing majority in the Bundesrat (upper chamber comprised of state/Lander governments). Everyone was expecting that these two parties would go into some brave economic reform. Pustekuchen. They got stuck in internal fight after fight – and lost a couple of crucial regional elections as a consequence. Now they have no more control of the Bundesrat and even more importantly no clue what to do. (This is one of the reasons why some of them turn nasty and raise the immigration issue I think.)
In the meantime German voters have discovered a new sense of electoral freedom and volatility of party support has radically increased. The latest poll of today (by Forsa for RTL and Stern) reveals that the government totally loses it if there were elections this weekend with the Christian Democrats (under Merkel) receiving 31% of the vote, their governing partner, the FDP, would receive 4% and thereby not make it parliament (after having received almost 15% at the last national election). On the other hand the Left Party (commies) are stable at 11%, the Social Democrats (SPD) come at 23% and the Green Party at 24% (compared to around 10% at last national election). Other parties have 7%.
Greens and SPD together should get a majority of the seats and traditionally the biggest party in the government coalition would put forward the Chancellor (prime minister). So Germany would be governed by the same left-of-centre coalition that governed successfully from 1998-2005 but the head of government would for the first time be a Green. Naturally, the Green Party itself is a bit surprised by these growing numbers and is anxious to accept this new reality.
I am looking forward to the day when these polls turn into reality.
NB. If you want to follow the latest (almost weekly) polls in Germany, there is an excellent overview on the Wahlrecht.de website. (Where you can obviously see that there is still quite a bit of divergence in polling figures but in all of them the government is as far away from a majority as you can be)