As announced this morning, the members of the German Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD), the SDP, are supporting a new Grand Coalition with Angela Merkel and her conservatives with a strong vote of two thirds. It is a self-rescue in the last moment. This way and for the time being, the party escapes an almost certain further decline in otherwise unavoidable new elections. But the old problems remain. In four of the five past governmental periods the SDP has shaped German politics, but never wanted as a whole to commit to and identify with the great achievements. In this respect, the SDP was always two parties, a reform government party and a left-wing opposition party. Scholz and Nahles were in the past leading exponents for these directions: Scholz as an important player during Schröder’s labor market policy, Nahles as an effective terminator of social-democratic key concerns in particular as a successful minister of employment of the last Merkel government. Neither the great successes of Schröder’s policy for the economic recovery of Germany nor the consistent policy of equality pursued by Nahles have brought the party to a clear position with itself. The fact that the two exponents Nahles and Scholz now jointly want to lead the SDP into the government and reform the party from the outside is at first just a replication of previous constellations. Only if the new axis manages to not only allow successful governmental work, but also commit the party to support it, and not let the SDP to slip into the sole role of another opposition party, it has a chance of recovery. That would be the indispensable prerequisite for regaining the support of the electorate. (KFZ)
Klaus F. Zimmermann, Professor of Economics and President of the Global Labor Organization (GLO), expresses his own opinion here.