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The Birth of the Grand Coalition (December 13, 1966)

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The strongest guarantee against any possible abuse of power is the firm resolve of the partners in the Grand Coalition to partner only for a limited period of time, that is, to the end of this legislative period. [Applause from the government parties.]

During this period of collaboration, the government believes that a new electoral law should be laid down constitutionally. For future elections to the German Bundestag, such a law would allow clear majorities after 1969. [Renewed applause from the government parties.]

This will create institutional pressure to end the Grand Coalition and an institutional defense against the necessity of forming coalitions altogether. The possibility of a transitional electoral law for the Bundestag elections in 1969 is being examined by the government.

This decision to form only a temporary coalition, however, will not prevent us from tackling all important issues with the utmost determination, for as long as this coalition lasts.

Our most immediate concern is balancing the budget for 1967. This has to happen quickly. The Financial Planning Law, the Tax Amendment Law of 1966, and the Supplementary Budget Law of 1967 are not enough to completely close the budgetary gaps. In spite of these three laws, we are anticipating a gap of around 3.3 billion Deutschmarks for 1967. The government will present new proposals for balancing the budget amounting to this figure as soon as possible.

In coming years, the financial situation of the federal government looks even bleaker. We might face budget gaps that are as large, averaged annually, as the entire budget of one of the financially strongest states in the Federal Republic – and this in spite of the three laws recently passed by the Upper House.

[ . . . ]

The recovery of the federal finances is less a question of expertise than of political courage and acquiescence on the part of all those responsible. [Applause from the government parties.]

The government knows this and will prepare the decisions that are necessary to fill the budgetary gaps looming in 1968 and will see to it that high-priority tasks can be performed better. This will not be possible only with measures that hurt no one. [ . . . ]

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