Sunday, September 18, 2005

Democracy in Deutschland (addendum zwei)

From AP:

Gerhard Schroeder, written off as a lame duck a few weeks ago, finished stronger than expected and refused to concede defeat, saying he could still theoretically remain in power if talks with other parties were successful.

"I feel myself confirmed in ensuring on behalf of our country that there is in the next four years a stable government under my leadership," he said to cheering supporters at his Social Democrat party headquarters while flashing the thumbs-up signal and holding his arms aloft in a gesture of triumph.

But Merkel claimed her party received a mandate from voters to form a new coalition government to carry out her plan to mend frayed ties with the United States.

"What is important now is to form a stable government for the people in Germany, and we... quite clearly have the mandate to do that," she said.

Both Schroeder and Merkel said they would talk to all parties except the new Left Party, a combination of ex-communists and renegade Social Democrats.

Now let the games begin in earnest. Ultimately, the outcome may depend on whether Schroeder is able to persuade the FDP, historically the CDU's coalition partner, to join a three-party coalition with his own SPD and the Greens (it looks more and more like the Left Party is out of it). Which might not be so bad -- although, again, there will likely be another election sooner rather than later in order for one of the two major parties to secure a more stable governing coalition.

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