European Council on Foreign Relations

Angela Merkel’s victory: What next for Europe?

Though Merkel’s victory is very impressive and cements her now unassailable position within the CDU, paradoxically, it might be quite difficult for her to form a coalition. The political reality dictates that compromises will have to be found, which means Germany’s policies are likely to shift slightly to the left.

Her previous coalition partner, the FDP, has suffered a historic setback and will not be represented in the new parliament for the first time since the founding of the Federal Republic. Having lost two-thirds of their voters, the Liberals will have to fundamentally re-invent themselves.

Moreover, both the Social Democrats and the Greens will be reluctant to form a coalition with her. The Social Democrats feel that the last Grand Coalition with Merkel from 2005 to 2009 lost them support from their core voters. The SPD would perhaps be more comfortable in opposition,

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