Bild, the German tabloid, shouts: “Powershift! But who with whom?” A few minutes later, the Bild homepage asks: “Merkel loses. Schroeder loses. Who governs us now?”
Deutsche Welle explains it, in English and gives us the election graphics (and check me if I get any of this wrong): Schroeder’s SPD gained at the last minute to come close to the conservative CDU. But neither has enough votes with its preferred partners to form a government. The CDU and the FDP had planned to form a coalition but now can’t: The CDU got 35.3 percent and the FDP 10 percent. No cigar. The SPD got 34.2 percent and its present partner, the Greens, got 8.1 percent. Still no cigar. Schroeder’s present coalition could bring in the FDP but DW says they don’t want to join the left coalition. Also hanging out there are the new Left party (heavied up with former East German leftists) with 8.5 percent and the possibility of a grand coalition of the two opposing big parties.
And we think our election aftermaths are fun to watch.
: David’s Medienkritik predicts a grand coalition but says anything is possible. Heiko Hebig says its scary that so many voted for the former communists of the Left party: “It’s quite scary that almost 4 million voters forgot about communist rule, the wall, suppression of civil liberties and having to wait 10 years for a sub-standard car in East Germany. Go, Trabi, go.” Scott Hanson says that “overhang seats” could play a surprising role for Schroeder.
: Not so fast.
: LATER: Schroeder is vowing not to form a grand coalition with Merkel. If she can’t form a government and he can with a lower vote total won’t that sound just a little familiar and ironic: Bush took the White House with a lower vote total in 2000. Schroeder would need help from two other parties. Bush needed help from one court.
: Simple Washington Post graphic explains the process.