German elections last weekend, in the East German state of Thuringia, confirmed what I knew years ago: There is absolutely nothing left of Angela Merkel's grand coalition.
Merkel’s CDU conservatives were blasted down from first to third place .
The Guardian reports Far-right AfD surges to second place in German state election.
Anti-immigrant populists beat Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) to second place in an election in the east German state of Thuringia yesterday, building spectacularly on their steady momentum since first entering the Bundestag two years ago.
Politico reports Far left and Right Outflank Center in Regional German Vote
What follows is through the eyes of Eurointelligence who views a center meltdown as a bad thing.
Something happened there that we feared would happen at some point: for the first time, the extreme parties on the left and the right managed to get a majority between them. Without wishing to over-stretch the parallels, we note this is how the Weimar Republic ended.
Thuringia is the only state in Germany where the Left Party heads a government. It managed to increase its share of the vote to 31%. The AfD, with 23.4%, was the other big winner. What is particularly galling is that the AfD's leader in the state is Bernd Hocke, a man on the far right of the party who has taken part in neo-Nazi marches.
We predicted some time ago that eventually the only way for the German centrist parties - CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP and Greens - to form a government would be through a mega-coalition between all them.
Since the 2017 elections, polls are registering declining vote shares for both CDU/CSU and SPD. They would longer have a majority nationwide. In Thuringia the situation went even further. If you add the seats of CDU, SPD, FDP and Greens, they are short of a majority together. The most likely scenario in Thuringia is for Bodo Ramelow of the Left Party, the current state premier, to form a minority government.
The over-arching story is the continuing meltdown of the political centre.
And finally, here is a story that encapsulates the SPD's problem more than anything else: the former SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel is about to be appointed chief lobbyist for the car industry. With Gerhard Schröder lobbying for Russian gas the SPD is now clearly the party supporting the industries of the past. The declining car industry and the declining SPD are perfect mirror images.
If "more Europe" was the answer, this meltdown would not be happening.
On October 18, 2015 I wrote Swamped By Stupidity; Peak Merkel.
Her open arms "We can do this" welcome of millions of Syrian refugees was the final straw.
Merkel managed to stay in power because SPD would not pull the plug on the alleged "Grand Coalition".
SPD leaders would have lost the next election and more importantly cushy jobs, free limos, and other perks for as long as they stayed in power.
It is no accident that the long-time elders (those with perks), elected to keep the coalition in place while younger members got thoroughly disgusted and drifted to the Greens, the radical Left, or the radical Right.
SPDs position in the "Grand" coalition is finally dead along with it the cushy jobs and limos.
What to do? What to do?
- The former SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel is about to be appointed chief lobbyist for the car industry.
- Gerhard Schröder will lobby for the Russian gas industry.
It's a fitting ending that proves what the Grand Coalition was really ever about: Political Perks.