FAZ power question: the offer has to be right!

WITHu the oldest rituals of an election campaign include the coalition statements of the top candidates. Or, better, its non-existence. Example FDP. It is quite likely that Christian Lindner would enter into a traffic light coalition with the SPD and the Greens if there was no other option after the election. Or because, as a kingmaker, he was able to force so many concessions that he can sell the traffic light as permanently flashing yellow. In addition, almost every voter should have noticed by now that the pressure on Lindner to enter a government and not again better not to govern than bad is considerably higher this time than in 2017.

Oliver Georgi

Editor in politics of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

So: the FDP and a traffic light, that is now anything but far-fetched. Nevertheless, when asked whether he considers such a coalition possible, Lindner has been rhetorically going around for weeks, as if an alliance with the SPD and the Greens were a new slimy way of life from Mars. Favorite phrase: He “simply lacks the imagination” which offers red-green should make to the FDP, Lindner repeated during the duel between the small parties on Monday evening – remarkable for a politician who is otherwise not known for a lack of self-confidence. But why doesn’t Lindner just say specifically what every FDP supporter knows? That Jamaica is of course much more preferred by the liberals, but if the Union is too weak, a traffic light also does it – the main thing is that the price is right?

One reason is obvious: Because politicians are reluctant to commit to an alliance too early and want to exclude one that they may then be dependent on after the election. And if they remained vague enough before election day, at least they cannot be blamed for an obvious breach of word, such as the SPD politician Andrea Ypsilanti, who ruled out a left-wing alliance before the Hessian state election in 2008 and then after the election a red- aspired to a green government alliance. Nevertheless, the voters are not stupid and can interpret signals pretty well. They know what a vague answer to a clear question means: that you avoid a definition and that the worst case is obviously still conceivable. This also creates displeasure among voters – so why don’t politicians make it easier for them and make things clearer?

Well known: Christian Lindner in November 2018 with the Greens chairman Robert Habeck


Well known to each other: Christian Lindner in November 2018 with the Greens chairman Robert Habeck
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Image: dpa

Because things are often complicated, as the example of the SPD shows. When asked how he feels with the Left Party, Olaf Scholz has refused to make a categorical statement for weeks, and in this case, too, you don’t have to be a party researcher to see what that means: In an emergency, the Left Party would be an option for the SPD – if the price is right. The price in this case is above all foreign policy and especially NATO, which the Left Party would like to abolish – for the SPD and the Greens, a commitment to the alliance that comes “from the heart” (Scholz) is a prerequisite for possible cooperation. Scholz himself is considered to be comparatively insensitive to red and red blossom dreams, especially after the left’s refusal in the Bundestag to approve the evacuation mission in Kabul, which the SPD candidate for Chancellor described as “bad”. It is also unlikely that the left would suddenly fundamentally change its stance on NATO at the negotiating table – although at least more moderate leftists such as parliamentary group leader Dietmar Bartsch have recently ceased to make a NATO exit a condition for cooperation with the SPD.

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