The dominant narrative in Germany is that the FDP has ruined the deal without need and are therefore responsible for this unprecedented situation.
Both the CDU and the Greens say that the FDP called off the talks on purpose. Indeed, the FDP leader Christian Lindner, had a well-prepared speech when he “spontaneously” walked out.
What this narrative undoubtedly does is weaken the FDP ahead of a potential new election. Germans don’t like irresponsible behavior.
The same holds true for the Social Democratic Party (SPD). It is also blamed for not taking on its responsibility to put the “nation first, and the party second” in times of crisis as Gerhard Schröder, the former chancellor, once said. The SPD has stated repeatedly that it wants to stay in opposition and rebuild rather than join a coalition government.
Merkel, even in her weakened position, seems to have understood this easy truth. She said she will keep her promise to run again even in new elections. And the CDU and its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) — despite all the past criticism — seem to be closing the ranks around her.
Inside the CDU party, hopes are high that Germans again in insecure times will support their long-time leader, rather than trying another experiment.
But another uneasy truth of the past two years is that voters are no longer easy to predict. Even if the odds look positive for Merkel, new elections are also a big gamble. One, she seems, to be ready to take.
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