Monday, January 29, 2018

Can the JuSos Stop Another Grand Coalition in Germany?

Guest post by Judith Meyer

The SPD youth (JuSos) is trying to imitate Momentum and overtake the SPD ahead of its members' vote by gathering lots of new short-term sign-ups for the sole purpose of voting against the Grand Coalition (GroKo). There are few numbers available, but within less than 48 hours they had had 1500 membership applications made centrally, and nobody knows how many applications were made via the local groups. Still, the task isn't easy, in 2013, 370,000 members had cast their vote about the coalition.

In any case they did enough to worry Merkel (whom Schulz may have told up-to-date figures?). Merkel is now insisting that the negotiations must conclude by February 4 already, which is unheard of in the history of coalition talks, and quite unlikely for a 200-page document. The SPD's General Secretary has noticed this possibility of putting the pressure on CDU to reach a deal quickly and he publicly affirmed today that new members shall have the right to vote. There will have to be a cut-off date of course (it has been set for February 6, 6 pm) for logistical reasons, but it won't be retroactive.

The coalition treaty is unlikely to contain anything new about Europe because the CDU/CSU leaders withdrew from the workgroup on Europe and Martin Schulz had to follow suit in order not to lose standing. It is said that Merkel doesn't want too much detail in the treaty on Europe so that she has more room to maneuver. While SPD affirmed that there would be no revelation of who will become minister of what until after the members' vote, it is an open secret that Schulz is coveting the position of foreign minister for himself, which would probably mean that CDU/CSU will claim the finance ministry for themselves - they would put Peter Altmaier.

I still give it better than even odds that the SPD base will reject the coalition.

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