Schroeder can still win elections with FDP: expert

16th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

16 September 2005, BERLIN - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder may clinch a surprise victory in Germany's election this Sunday by adding the opposition Free Democrats to his government, a leading political scientist predicted.

16 September 2005

BERLIN - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder may clinch a surprise victory in Germany's election this Sunday by adding the opposition Free Democrats to his government, a leading political scientist predicted.

The University of Goettingen's Franz Walter, who is regarded as a national expert on political parties, said he expects Schroeder to make an offer to the Free Democrats (FDP) on the election night if the percentages add up.

Schroeder's current Social Democratic (SPD) alliance with the Greens is down in all opinion polls and widely seen as having no chance of re-election.

Walter, writing in Berlin's Die Tageszeitung newspaper, predicted an SPD-Greens-FDP government as the most likely result on Sunday.

"(Schroeder) can only survive and indeed triumph alone through this Red-Green-Yellow constellation," said Walter in reference to the traditional colours of each party.

SPD chancellors have ruled with either the FDP or the Greens at different times, but there has never been such a 'traffic light coalition' (so nicknamed because the parties have red, yellow and green as their trademark colours) at the national level.

There have, however, been a few examples of such a government in Germany's Laender, the federal states.

But big hurdles remain for a traffic light coalition in Berlin.

While a few SPD leaders and a lower ranking Green official have openly held up this model, most Greens and FDP chief Guido Westerwelle have fiercely rejected it.

Walter does not see this as a problem because, as he notes, the question of whether or not a party can cling to power tends to sharpen minds.

The FDP is known to be desperate to get out of the opposition and would likely be encouraged by German business to join Schroeder in order to help ensure further economic reforms.

For the Greens, being tossed out of office in Berlin poses the grim prospect of being out of power - everywhere.

At the regional level the Greens have been voted out of office in the nine Laender where they held cabinet posts over the past two decades. Losing Berlin would mean the only Greens in office are city council members or the odd mayor.

A more fundamental hurdle is that the math may not add up for a traffic light coalition after voters have their say.

Opinion polls currently show no majority for Red-Yellow-Green which Germany's top six polling agencies put at between 47 per cent and 48 per cent.

But given that an Allensbach poll earlier this week showed 33 per cent of voters are still undecided, this could easily change on Sunday.

Copyright DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news

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