Prospects for Political Coalitions (September 20, 2005)
For all intents and purposes, the 2005 Bundestag elections ended in a draw, since there was no clear majority for either a CDU/CSU-FDP coalition or a SPD-Green government. The media speculated about the possibility of either a “traffic light” coalition between the SPD, the Greens, and the FDP (based on the parties’ official colors: red, green, and yellow, respectively), or a “Jamaica coalition” between the CDU/CSU, the FDP, and the Greens (black, yellow, and green: the colors of the Jamaican flag). During the campaign, the FDP had voiced its support for an alliance with the CDU, thus rejecting an SPD-led traffic light coalition at a very early stage. The Jamaica coalition foundered because the CSU refused to work with the Greens, and because the Greens had their own reservations about cooperating with the CDU and the FDP. For their part, the SPD and the Greens ruled out the possibility of forming a government with the Left Party/PDS, because of the party's rejection of NATO and the EU, its Communist past, and the populism of its leader, Oskar Lafontaine. In the end, the only viable solution was a Grand Coalition between the two large mainstream parties, the CDU/CSU and the SPD. These photos, taken just after the election, show party flags illustrating the possible political constellations: a Grand Coalition, a Jamaica coalition, or a traffic light coalition. Photo: Gero Breloer.