Germany gets new government, and Merkel becomes Chancellor
On February 7, in the morning, the leading political parties of Germany - CDU, CSU and SPD - announced an agreement on the creation of the so-called ‘Great Coalition’ after the intense day-long negotiations. The socialists and Christian Democrats could not decide how to share ministerial portfolios. Finally, the decision was made - the Ministries of Labor, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Family and Justice would be controlled by the Social Democrats. The CDU will deal with education, health, agriculture, defense and economics ministries. The Ministry of Internal Affairs, Transport, Development and Digitalization will be controlled by the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of the CDU, which shares right-wing conservative views.
Thus, SPD leader Martin Schultz will become Germany's new Foreign Minister, replacing Sigmar Gabriel, his party colleague, in this position. At the same time, according to Süddeutsche Zeitung and Spiegel, Schulz will give up his chairmanship in his own party, giving way to his party colleague Andrea Nahles.
CSU Chairman Horst Seehofer will head the Ministry of Interior and create a new division - the Ministry of the Motherland, which exists in Bavaria as a separate ministry. The Ministry of Economics will be headed by Peter Altmeyer, who previously worked as the head of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration. Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen, actively lobbying the policy of modernization and improving the financing of the German Bundeswehr, will keep her position. The Ministry of Finance and the post of vice-chancellor will be occupied by the Social Democrat, Olaf Scholz.
Sahra Wagenknecht, the chairperson of the Left faction in the Bundestag, expressed her disappointment with the results of the coalition talks between the CDU / CSU and the SPD: ”The Christian Democrats and Socialists have not decided on imposing a tax on the super-rich and corporations, there will be not enough money for the necessary investments. The lack of housing and social workers, low salaries and beggarly pensions will continue to affect negatively the lives of millions of people. Instead of lowering the level of militarization, the new government, on the contrary, relies on further strengthening of the army and increasing arms exports. " Sahra Wagenkneht expressed the hope that ordinary members of the SPD would block the outcome of the coalition talks. It is impossible to exclude such a scenario - the majority of observers in Germany agree that the final word in determining the fate of the future German government is in the hands of the Social Democrats - about half a million ordinary SPD members will vote for or against the Great Coalition. Moreover, not everyone in the party supports the SPD union with the CDU / CSU - many ordinary Social Democrats believe that the leadership sacrifices the ideals of the party for sake of the posts in different ministries. According to the various public opinion studies, currently, the popularity of the SPD at the federal level fluctuates between 18-20%, which indicates a further decline of the Social Democratic Party’s authority and is used as an argument by the Great Coalition opponents.
The representatives of the economy and industry circles are also dissatisfied with the new coalition’s program. The president of the Federal Union of German Industry, Dieter Kempf, noted a clear bias towards redistribution of wealth, instead of ensuring the future economic growth. As for the tax policy, despite the good economic situation in the Federal Republic of Germany, the coalition partners are not ready to introduce a sensitive tax cut and carry out structural reforms.