Germany: Merkel Pays High Price for Fourth Term

Negotiators from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), their Bavarian partners, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) have agreed in principle on a deal for a new “grand coalition” government—one that, in fact, is the same as the one that governed prior to the last election in September 2017.

The deal, if formally ratified by the SPD’s rank and file members at a special party congress on March 4, would ensure that Germany has a new government by Easter—and that Merkel, already in power for 12 years, will remain in office for a fourth tenure as chancellor, albeit in a much-weakened position.

Unusually, the 177-page agreement, reached on February 7, is subject to review in two years, when the parties will reassess the coalition. Analysts have speculated that it may be an opportunity for Merkel finally to step down.

Share