“It worked,” SPD member Olaf Schultz said Friday afternoon. “We have prepared a text that can serve as the basis for further coalition negotiations.” As always, the politician announced an important step in the formation of a new German government, which he would lead himself.
Less than three weeks after the Bundestag elections, the SPD, the Greens and the Free Democratic Party have found enough common ground to move into formal coalition talks. so called traffic lightThe coalition, the traffic light due to the red color of the SPD, the yellow color of the liberal FDP and the Green Party, looks viable.
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The text that Schultz talked about consists of twelve aspects, and outlines the main lines on the basis of which the three parties bridged the main differences. Contrary to what the SPD and the Greens wanted, there would be no speed limits on the highways as they were: for the FDP and its clients of fast drivers, this was clearly a point where they had to keep their feet.
The Greens could note an initial victory when it comes to the use of coal as fuel: According to the statute, it should be stopped by 2030. The SPD and the Greens could commit to raising the minimum wage to 12 euros an hour, which the FDP opposes in principle. According to the document, the voting age should also be lowered to 16, which would benefit the FDP and the Greens in particular given their popularity with younger voters.
In recent days, the Social Democratic Party, the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party have presented themselves as an “innovative coalition,” a term also reflected in the text, focused on “modernization” and “progress.” The Social Democrats, the largest of the three parties that have ruled there for sixteen in the last twenty years, like to ride on the progressive image of the Greens and the FDP.
At the local level, the Social Democrats are nowadays criticized by right and center parties and the media for trying to form a government in Berlin and Mecklenburg with the Socialist Party Die Linke. CDU General Secretary Paul Zimyak wrote on Twitter that Olaf Schulz is the “civil fig leaf of the left-wing SPD”.
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The SPD, the Green Party, and the FDP assert that they favor a new leadership style at the federal level. On the other hand, party chiefs praise each other for pleasant communication and open conversations, in which not everyone stubbornly adheres to their election platforms. As Michael Kellner of the Greens’ negotiating team said last week: “We haven’t read our party platforms to each other.”
“If such dissimilar parties can agree on the great challenges of our time and the answers to them, it is an opportunity to unite our country,” Christian Lindner, head of the Free Democratic Party, said Friday afternoon. He also hoped that “a potential alliance will be greater than the sum of its parts”. Lindner believes that the “big winner” in the Traffic Lights Coalition will ultimately not be a “but our country” party.
A version of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad on October 16, 2021
A version of this article also appeared on NRC on the morning of October 16, 2021
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