Halfway for the German Grand Coalition
A Rough Ride Ahead for Angela Merkel?
Halfway through the current black-red grand coalition of Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD) the peaceful times are pretty much over. Things will definitely get rougher for Angela Merkel (CDU), with her leadership in managing the on-going refugee crisis in question, while the SPD leadership is under ever more pressure to find means out of their poor poll results. Public discussion on chancellor candidates has already started: Rumour has it that Angela Merkel may stand for another term, while the SPD is internally quarrelling over whether to have a candidate at all.
Not a Strong Balance Sheet
So far, the current government’s achievements read more like a list of expensive election promises and their ultimate effect on the economy is yet unclear:
The SPD claims to have delivered on some of its key social subjects with “fair retirement at 63” (seen by many as too expensive), a minimum wage of 8,50 Euros, and more money for childcare and school education.
The CDU has in return pushed its “mother pension” through Bundestag, another expensive election promise.
Meanwhile, CDU’s Bavarian sister party CSU is suffering traumas with the toll for foreign passenger cars (challenged by EU legislation) and childcare money (Betreuungsgeld) which has been stopped by the Constitutional Court for lack of legal authority by the federal government.
Angela Merkel, however, has managed to keep out of the controversies around these issues – as is her known style -, focusing on European crisis management. Her strategy seems to have paid off. She is still the most popular leader for Germans. A recent survey by business paper Handelsblatt sees her come in at 58% should there be a chancellor vote at this time.