German grand coalition takes office as most right-wing government since 1945
16 March 2018
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Angela Merkel was elected German chancellor for the fourth time Wednesday, almost six months after the federal election. The formation of a new government has never before taken so long. Generally, a government takes office one to two months after the election.
Merkel was elected narrowly as chancellor. With just 364 votes out of a total of 709 deputies, she secured just 9 more than the minimum necessary. At least 35 members from the governing parties, the CDU, Christian Social Union (CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD), refused to back Merkel in the secret ballot.
The poor election result and the long period required to form the government demonstrate that the new government is unstable. The main reason for this instability is the deep social chasm that has opened up between the broad masses of the population and all the political parties.
Fifteen years to the day before Merkel’s election, then-German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder delivered his notorious Agenda speech to parliament. It introduced a social counter-revolution that has been pursued by all successive governments and has transformed Germany into one of the world’s most unequal countries, with high poverty rates and a huge low-wage sector. The new government will continue this course, combining it with a massive strengthening of the repressive state apparatus at home and abroad.
The situation increasingly resembles the infamous conditions during the Weimar Republic, when parliaments were fractured and governments were unstable, while all of the bourgeois parties moved ever further to the right in the face of deepening social opposition.
For the first time, seven…