Coalition negotiations: traffic light puzzle in the final phase

To analyse

Status: 11/23/2021 4:39 a.m.

In the final phase of the traffic light negotiations, there is a lot of speculation about positions. But even if some things seem plausible – only the future chancellor has been determined. The wait for names and content should be over soon anyway.

By Christian Feld, ARD capital studio

Who moved the most? When was the tactic changed? Who can turn things around even after setbacks? If you watch a Bundesliga game these days, you will get such questions answered almost in real time. No wonder: every movement, every move is clearly visible on the pitch. Raw material for sophisticated statistics.

Christian Field
ARD capital studio

It is much more difficult to analyze the ongoing coalition negotiations leading to a possible traffic light government. They run – this is not new – behind closed doors. In addition, the three parties involved have sworn to confidentiality and silence, which has largely been achieved so far.

There are enough interesting questions: Which content-related program have the SPD, Greens and FDP agreed on? How are the ministries tailored? Which party gets which house? Which people lead which department? So far, many possible pieces of the traffic light puzzle have been buzzing through political life. Far from everything are confirmed facts. Some are based on informed tips from people involved or plausible conclusions. But some of it is speculation or – even more problematic – just nonsense. Until the final coalition agreement is available, caution is advised.

Several lists emerged

In the last few days several lists with alleged ministry distributions and names have appeared. These are papers that spread quickly in the government district, after all, personnel issues are always appealing. Individual names in it are not surprising. Olaf Scholz is set to move into the head office of the Chancellery when there is a traffic light government. It is also absolutely certain that Annalena Baerbock, Robert Habeck and Christian Lindner will hold ministerial posts. Other names and distributions are quite plausible: Hubertus Heil from the SPD continues to work in the Ministry of Labor, traffic for the Greens, justice for the FDP. Plausible. It is therefore quite possible that the final paper will be similar to the lists.

Still nothing has been confirmed. It is also unclear who wrote the documents. It is very unlikely or impossible that they come from the innermost core of the negotiations, especially since some things can definitely not be correct: A parliamentary state secretary in a building ministry would need a mandate from the Bundestag. This is not the case with one of the alleged occupations.

In addition, the experience remains that changes and surprises can still arise in the final phase of the final phase of negotiations. Some traffic light negotiators cause the speculations to cheer up Twitter comments. “I just heard somewhere that Bugs Bunny will be Minister of Agriculture at the traffic lights,” writes Green Konstantin von Notz. This is followed by humorous reactions from, among others, Konstantin Kuhle (FDP) and Kevin Kühnert (SPD).

Coalition agreement ready this week?

In terms of the schedule, the SPD, Greens and FDP have recently confirmed that they want to present a finished coalition agreement this week. That leaves room for maneuver: End of the week? Or very soon, maybe already today? The presentation depends on when the main negotiating group can resolve the remaining conflicts. Since last week, the final coalition agreement has been created from the papers of 22 working groups. The time of the very long meetings began long ago, one can hear.

“It grows together, what fits together”, Olaf Scholz said at the weekend at the Brandenburg SPD’s state party convention: “We find new friends, the SPD, the Greens and the FDP.” Annalena Baerbock, chairwoman of the Greens, shared an insight publicly from her point of view: “We were fed up because we had the feeling that only the Greens are responsible for climate protection.” But there are also areas “where this color constellation can create a real departure”.

No massive punctures

What is not available are regular, comprehensive interim reports. In the course of the negotiations, concrete texts saw the light of day in a few cases – for example from the external or health working groups. Promptly followed by comments that these are not the current versions. However, none of that compares to the massive piercing of the exploratory talks in 2017.

Which colors ultimately shape the overall picture? Which handwriting will be more clearly recognizable? Is the awakening so often invoked recognizable? It can only be really analyzed when the entire coalition agreement is on the table.

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