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Monday, September 19, 2005


Germany: Is there a future for Gerhard Schröeder and the Social Democrats?

Some people had written Gerhard Schröeder off as pre-election polls showed Angela Merkel of the conservative Christian Democrat Party leading by a substantial margin. Merkel, who has been compared to Britain's former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, is reported to enjoy support of Bush administration. It was no secret that Gerhard Schröeder's position on Iraq had soured relationship between the two countries. Tony Blair, too, does not get along well with Schröeder.

The election was held on September 18th. When votes were counted, the results showed that Mrs. Merkel received far fewer votes than the polls had indicated.

What lies ahead for Schröeder and his Social Democratic Party? Mrs. Merkel received 35.3% of votes against Schröeder's 34.2%. Without a clear majority, both are scrambling to form a coalition government with other parties. A coalition between the two is said to be out of consideration. Coalition of SDU, Left Party (Die Linkspartei.) and the Green Party led by Joschka Fischer would provide a quick fix for Schröeder. Mrs. Merkel could be expected to make overtures to the Greens. However, the match is unlikely to take shape.

If the CDU and SDU both fail to muster enough support for a coalition government then fresh elections will be held later this year or early in 2006.

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