Before the last election in Germany, I mentioned the possibility that it may take a long time for Merkel to build a coalition because of the rise of AfD at the expense of SPD.

In response, a German reader emailed that I should stop talking about things I know nothing of. But here we are.

Hurricane Over Jamaica

Eurointelligence reports a "Hurricane Over Jamaica".

We are at the moment of maximum danger for the Jamaica coalition. The talks are not going well, and Angela Merkel is astonishingly passive. The committees will conclude their work today, and hand over to the party leaders, who hope to reach a final compromise by tomorrow morning. We still think this is possible, but our erstwhile optimism about a Jamaica coalition coming together is now more muted. We noted a comment by Gerhard Schröder yesterday predicting that Jamaica will either not come together at all or, more likely, fail after one year when the CSU loses the elections in Bavaria - where the party has reigned longer than Robert Mugabe has in Zimbabwe. Schröder expects new elections in 2019, and is calling on his party to get ready.

Die Welt reports this morning that there is a number of issues on which there is no progress. They list coal-powered energy, refugee policy, and fiscal policy.

A rare and rather troubling soundbite out of that committee came from the general secretary of the CSU, who accused the Greens of blocking a deal on foreign policy, defense, and Europe. Since the Greens are the most pro-European party of the lot (with the exception of the pro-European wing of the CDU), this is not good news.

FDP deputy leader Wolfgang Kubicki, a man to watch, produced the quote of the night - a hurricane is currently over Jamaica. We like the response of the Green party's parliamentary leader Anton Hofreiter, who said the hurricane was due to the lack of progress on climate change in the discussions.

The Greens were the only party that signaled readiness to compromise early on, which turned out to be a tactical mistake because the other sides are not moving at all. The last committee meeting on migration lasted for nine hours without any progress whatsoever. On climate change, the CSU and FDP do not even agree to the existing commitment of the outgoing grand coalition, in respect of the 2030 goal for the reduction of greenhouse gases. The committee on agriculture failed to reach agreement on many of the outstanding issues. Another fear is that, even if the leaders manage to strike a deal tonight, there is so much animosity lower down that the coalition will be permanently divided.

Our baseline remains that Jamaica will happen but, if not, the most likely consequences would be new elections after some delay.

Bundestag Makeup

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The Jamaica coalition also includes the CSU.

Coalition Math

  • The Bundestag has 709 members. A majority is 355.
  • CDU, CSU, FDP, and the Greens 393.
  • CDU, CSU and FDP would have 326 seats, a deficit of 29.
  • CDU, FDP, and the Greens, without the CSU, which would have 347 seats, a deficit of only eight
  • CDU and SPD would have 353, still two votes short.

Moreover, should another "grand coalition" form between CDU and SPD,, AfD would become the largest opposition party, with increased parliamentary rights. No one but AfD wants that outcome.

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Never Before

Never before in German politics has it required a coalition of four parties to make a majority. And never before in German history has there been a minority government at the national level.

One never before is going to happen or there will be new elections.

Mutually Exclusive Demands

  • CSU, Merkel's sister party wants refugee quotas and a "skilled workers law" that would require someone to find a job before they can get a visa.
  • FDP wants a points-based immigration regulation.
  • Greens insist there cannot be refugee quotas (a seemingly anti-green thing from an energy perspective).
  • FDP and the Greens disagree on budget priorities.
  • FDP and the Greens disagree on the climate.
  • Merkel agrees with the Greens on some climate aspects in words, not deeds.

CDU/CSU Split

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The above image from AfD, CDU, SPD: Where do German parties stand on refugees, asylum and immigration?

Here is an interesting quote I picked up from Bloomberg: If the CSU refuses to move at all on migration, “this is practically the end of negotiations,” Claudia Roth, a negotiator for the Greens, told reporters in Berlin earlier Thursday. “It was a good idea to bring my toothbrush,” she quipped.

The Eurointelligence article phrased it this way: "This would constitute a historic break between the two Christian-democratic parties, and the beginning of the end of the Union."

The Guardian noted "FDP and the Green party not only intensely dislike one another but are both cautious of losing credibility with their voters."

Even if the Jamaica coalition forms, it will not last.

Peak Merkel has long ago come and gone.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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