A wind of change is blowing in Berlin. The Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and the Free Democrats (FDP) just signed their coalition agreement. The ‘traffic light coalition’ is supposed to take over the government on Wednesday.
Berlin, December 7th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — Now that all three parties involved in Germany’s ‘traffic light coalition’ have approved the coalition agreement negotiated by its leaders and main election candidates, the new government is ready to rumble. There are many “firsts”. For instance, this is the first three-party coalition government of the Federal Republic of Germany, at least if we count the conservative union parties CDU and CSU as one party. For the first time ever, there are just as many female ministers as male colleagues.
This is the government nobody saw coming. The ‘union’ was supposed to win the elections on September 26th, 2021, but its candidate for Chancellor drove voters away instead of attracting them. Olaf Scholz, who was Finance Minister under Angela Merkel, is seen as a reliable and careful politician who can get the job done. The combination of his popularity and his opponent’s weakness led to the SPD’s triple election victory. It was clear they would win the state elections in Mecklenburg Hither-Pomerania, but in the city state of Berlin they were behind for quite a while. The same applied on the federal level. At the last moment, the Social Democrats overtook everyone and won.
When the Bundestag elects Olaf Scholz Chancellor on Wednesday with the majority the ‘traffic light’ parties have, he will be the ninth head of government in the Federal Republic, and the fourth Social Democrat to move into the Chancellery. Hamburg’s former Finance Senator and First Mayor may not be a colorful personality, but neither is Angela Merkel. Like her, he is not a gifted speaker either, but an experienced politician who usually delivers. Like her, he does not feel the urge to be in the center of the attention 24/7.
This morning, there was a “new awakening”, Scholz stated just before the coalition agreement was signed. The elections in September had brought three parties together that felt obliged to bring about progress. Scholz said the results of the coalition talks were positive. His new government had not forgotten that the fight against the Corona pandemic would require a lot of work and energy.
For the Greens, the designated Commerce and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said, so far, he and his colleagues had negotiated as different parties with visible differences. From now on, they would act “as one government for the people in Germany”. Bringing together climate neutrality and prosperity was the task ahead.
Time of Deeds
Christian Lindner, the head of the center-right FDP who will be Finance Minister, said the coalition partners had communicated with each other, their parties and the public a lot. Now, the time of deeds was beginning. “We have said we would dare more progress. Starting this week, we will work on it”, Lindner stated. “We do not have illusions. The challenges we are confronted with are big.” The ambitions of everyone involved were big as well, he added.
On Monday, the Greens were the last of the three coalition parties to approve the coalition agreement, which means the ‘traffic light coalition’ now has the green light it needs to go ahead and implement its plans. The conservative ‘union parties’ will be part of the opposition, for the first time since 2005, when Chancellor Gerhard Schröder lost the parliamentary elections and Angela Merkel took over with his SPD as her junior coalition partner.
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