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BACKGROUND Would minority government really be untested ground for Germany?

Europe
21.11.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - In recent days, the collapse of coalition talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s Christian Democrat-led (CDU) conservatives and two smaller parties increased the likelihood of a minority federal government in Germany, a move many consider risky and untested.

Whilst minority governments have never survived more than a few weeks at the federal level - only serving as transitional cabinets between elections and new coalition agreements - they are hardly uncommon at the state level in Germany.

Some 12 of Germany‘s 16 states have already had minority governments of various lifespans.

A recent example is in the west German state of Lower Saxony, where the Social Democrats (SPD) lost their slim majority three-and-a-half months ago when one of their lawmakers switched to the opposition. But for the new term of government, the SPD teamed up with the CDU to form a majority coalition.

Germany has also witnessed longer-lasting incarnations of minority governments. In the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, an SPD-Greens coalition governed for almost two years, helped by regular cooperation from far left party Die Linke.

The record for the longest-reigning minority government goes once again to the SPD in the central-eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, where state premier Reinhard Hoeppner governed for eight years with a minority - between 1994 and 2002. Again, the PDS (who would later become Die Linke) made the minority viable with their support.

 

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