Germany’s Weird Election

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Germany is in the midst of an election campaign, but it’s a bit of an odd campaign since there’s no real doubt that the incumbent Christian Democratic Union is going to win. Nor is there any doubt that the Christian Democrats won’t secure a majority. Nor is there any doubt that the Social Democrats will come in second. Instead, the drama is around the question of whether the libertarianish Free Democrats will secure enough seats to form a right-of-center coalition with the CDU or whether the CDU will be forced into another “grand coalition” with the SPD as its partner. Chancellor Angela Merkel has made it very clear that she prefers to work with the Free Democrats, but the polling indicates that the people somewhat obstinately want to return her to office, but want to return her to office without her preferred coalition partner.

Meanwhile, it seems to me that the longer the SDP serves as junior partner in a coalition led by a center-right party, the more voters looking for progressive change are going to drift to the party co-founded by ex-Communists and left-wing SDP members called Die Linke (“the left”). But that’s common sense, not real election analysis.

I can say that the campaign posters I’ve seen on the roads of Saxony are extraordinarily dull and mostly lacking in content. The far-right Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands is the exception offering posters that drive home clear anti-immigration themes