25 September 2017

Sturm und Drang?

The German elections are not entirely conclusive.  The Guardian reports:
The country faces weeks of drawn-out coalition talks between the parties, about who will form a government with the CDU/CSU.
A repeat of the so-called “grand coalition” between Merkel’s conservative alliance and the SPD would amount to 354 seats – 316 are required to form a government – but was vehemently ruled out by Schulz, who in Sunday night’s post-result TV debate called Merkel’s election tactics “scandalous” and accused her of creating the political vacuum that was filled by AfD.
A second option is a “Jamaica alliance” – so called because the parties’ colours make up the Jamaican flag – between the CDU/CSU, the resurrected Free Democratic party (FDP) and the Greens, which would have 356 seats. But the constellation has never been tried in the national parliament before and is fraught with potential difficulty, not least a clash over environmental issues between the FDP and Greens and resistance in the FDP towards eurozone changes proposed by France’s president, Emmanuelle Macron, to which Merkel has given her backing.
In such circumstances, Frau Merkel is unlikely - for the next month or two - to be in a position to make any commitments on Brexit.  So negotiations on the exit requirements (the divorce bill, the position of EU residents in the UK and the Northern Ireland border) are likely to drag on interminably, while the initiation of discussions on future trading arrangements seems further away than ever.  All of which must increase the likelihood of a cliff-edge, no deal, catastrophic Brexit.


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