The media today are raving over Angela Merkel’s “huge victory“, with some even calling it “historic” or even a “blowout”, as Drudge does.
But this isn’t so by any means. Merkel’s government LOST and will soon no longer be in power. The perception of media outlets from Great Britain and in the USA surely has been distorted by a dense fog across the English Channel and the Atlantic. Merkel’s government was defeated. Her current government failed to get the votes needed to continue.
Somewhere along the line Merkel forgot that her government was a team effort and involved other team players. Although her party scored lots of goals and made spectacular plays that wowed the viewers, her team lost. She is the MVP, but on the losing team.
Typical of Merkel: when the going gets tough, she abandons her partners, throws them under the bus, but not without first giving them a swift, hard kick to the face. Had Merkel’s CDU/CSU party received a scant half a percent of the vote less and her junior FDP a scant half a percent more, her government would be sitting firmly in power today. But no, Merkel and her players insisted on being stars and abandoned their team mates. This is going to come back around soon enough.
We saw the same pattern when she ditched Germany’s nuclear power in the wake of Fukushima, and later when she brutally threw Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen under the bus after his disastrous CDU election defeat in North Rhine-Westphalia. Immediately Röttgen resigned his position as head of the CDU in North Rhine-Westphalia and on 16 May 2012 he was fired by Merkel and replaced by Peter Altmaier as the Federal Minister for Environment.
So in the aftermath of yesterday’s elections, what’s left is superstar Merkel on a defeated team searching for a new coalition partner. Now it’s her turn to beg.
Merkel’s CDU/CSU party only has two options: 1) form a coalition with rival socialist SPD party, or 2) try to forge a coalition with the hostile Greens.
Should the runner-up SPD party agree to form a coalition with Merkel’s CDU/CSU, then look for such a government that will try to force through the “Energiewende” (transition to renewables) with renewed vigor. Her previous liberal, business-friendly FDP party was the only element in German politics who to some extent applied the emergency brakes on the out of control renewable energy subsidies and feed-in tariffs. An SPD coalition partner will surely let up on the brakes, if not completely abandon them. A huge, almost two thirds majority CDU/SPD government would practically allow them to ram through any energy policy desired.
Should the Greens agree to form a coalition with Merkel’s party, a very unlikely scenario, but not one that can be excluded with the opportunistic Merkel, then the Energiewende gas pedal would surely get pushed to the metal.
With the FDP liberal coalition partner gone and licking its wounds, there is nothing left (except a fleeting chance to some rationality) in place to slow down the Energiewende and climate policy.
There is one other remaining possibility: both the Greens and SPD will refuse to form a coalition with Merkel’s conservatives. That would leave superstar Merkel without a team to lead, and wishing she had not thown the FDP under the wheels.