Römmele to give live commentary on Phoenix TV from SPD party congress Sunday.
Speaking to a group of foreign journalists on Friday, Professor of Communication in Politics and Civil Society Andrea Römmele said she expects the Social Democratic Party (SPD) to endorse coalition talks with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) to form a so-called grand coalition.
Despite strong protests from the SPD’s young socialist wing, the JuSos, who have said they will not endorse the agreement to form a coalition, Römmele said, “I am optimistic that the delegates on Sunday will succeed in agreeing that the party and its leadership should enter coalition talks. The voices you hear now are loud, but it is not the majority of the SPD.”
Nevertheless, she said she doubts that a grand coalition would last a full four-year term. The German government has been formed by the two large mainstream parties for eight years now, and many people believe that it has kept debate over issues critical to Germany’s future at bay.
If the CDU/CSU and SPD can’t form a government, the only options are a new election or a minority government led by Angela Merkel, in which coalitions would have to be formed each time new legislation was up for debate. Römmele says that would certainly liven up the debate, but that option is unlikely at this stage, even if the SPD decides against a grand coalition.
“Merkel suffered big losses in the last election, she did not manage to achieve a coalition with the Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens, and then she would have failed with a grand coalition. Merkel would then call new elections,” Römmele said.
Watch Römmele's live commentary on German public broadcaster Phoenix from the SPD party conference on Sunday, starting at 10:45 CET.