The German middle country, or how to rule when you are full and satisfied
How is it that in Germany – the western ones and then the united ones – for 70 years they have been ruling alternately, or even together, essentially two parties? Is the Germans so comfortable with them, or maybe they have no other choice? Or maybe they are afraid of changes, because if it is so good, why change anything? What is the recipe for governing Germany?
In May, the renowned Bertelsmann Foundation published a report on in-depth opinion polls, which clearly showed that Germany wanted a new political opening – the Federal Republic was Wechselstimmung, a mood for change that has not been recorded since reunification in 1990.
“The crossover is set to change, not only to change the government, but most of all to a real change of policy” – argued Dr. Robert Vehrkamp, an expert of the foundation for democracy, citing the collected data. And these seemed unambiguous. Over 60 percent of Germans wanted a different government than the current one to form after the elections. Even more, more than two-thirds of them, wished for a fundamental change in policy. The Germans saw a particular need for renewal in the fields of climate policy and environmental protection (55.4 percent), migration and integration policy (54.9 percent), as well as pension policy (53.9 percent) and education (52.4 percent).
Party polls seemed to be in tune with these sentiments. In May, the Greens catapulted to their forehead, leaving behind the two great German parties forming the government of Angela Merkel, the union of Christian Democrat groups CDU and CSU, and the Social Democrats. German and world commentators slowly accustomed themselves and their readers to the perspective of the green lady chancellor, who would also be the first head of the German government not from the ranks of the CDU or SPD, because the Christian Democrats ruled the Federal Republic for a total of five decades, and the Social Democrats for two. Annalena Baerbock was supposed to be a breath of fresh air that would spark the musty and sedate German politics.
Just before the elections, it turns out that these hopes were in vain. The Greens returned to third place in the polls and although their loss to the SPD and CDU / CSU is not large, it seems that these two parties will again decide the duel for the chancellor’s office. So will Germany always be condemned to the rule of the same two parties? And where did the will to change, which the researchers of the Bertelsmann Foundation diagnosed just a few months ago, disappeared?
Read without limits
Access this article and other special content. Free