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Greens Enter Government with FDP and CDU in Saarland

A first has happened in Germany. The Saarland Greens have agreed to enter a coalition with the classical liberal Free Democratic Party and the conservative Christian Democrats. This so called Jamaica coalition, named for the colors of Jamaica’s flag (Green-Yellow-Black), is a first of its kind in Germany and has many people excited and others nervous.

I would expect rank and file Greens to be wary of this odd agreement considering how antagonistic the FDP and Greens have been, but considering that the political landscape is changing with the Left party in the mix and that the CDU are more eco-conscious, maybe this isn’t such a bad idea.

The Greens also had the option of forming a government with the Social Democrats and the Left Party, but the Greens said they were turned off by Left Party leader, Oskar Lafontaine.

This development definitely changes the game.

The Saarland Greens voted on Sunday to approve coalition talks with the CDU and FDP, which means CDU governor Peter Müller is set to remain in power even though his party lost 13 percentage points in the election.

The decision is a blow to the SPD, which had hoped to oust Müller by forming Germany’s first three-way coalition between the SPD, Left Party and Greens as a tryout for a possible alliance with which to topple Merkel in the 2013 federal election.

Now they are spearheading an experiment in a small regional state that could eventually transform the nation’s political landscape. Even though they won just 5.9 percent of the vote in an Aug. 30 regional election in the tiny south-western state of Saarland, with a population just over 1 million, the Greens have emerged as kingmakers in a new three-way alliance with former arch-rivals. They have also managed to wrest a string of policy concessions and are likely to get two cabinet posts in Saarland — even though they only have three seats in the state assembly, out of a total of 51.

It will be Germany’s first three-way coalition consisting of conservative Christian Democrats, pro-business Free Democrats and Greens. It’s known as a “Jamaica” coalition because the parties’ official colors of black, yellow and green match the colors of the Caribbean island’s national flag.

Source: Spiegel

Walter

I'm a member of the Illinois Green Party.

One Comment

  1. The Spiegel article, and another one in the Nation (http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091102/pollitt), helps to put this in perspective. It seems that Lafontaine of the Left party attacked the Greens throughout the campaign, and then was planning to leave the national parliament to rule Saarland from behind the scenes. Since the CDU and FDP did worse than the SDP and Left, and the Greens had the least votes of all, the Greens could have a lot more leverage over a coalition with the right than one with the left. Indeed, they got two minister positions despite winning only three seats in the assembly. This is a gamble, but hopefully they are smart enough to make it work.

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