Traffic lights or Jamaica? Will Angela Merkel still give the next New Year’s speech? These two questions nag at Germans after the general election on September 26, 2021. It remains to be seen whether in the negotiations for the formation of a government coalition the SPD (Sozialdemokratische Partei, Social Democratic Party), the Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) and the FDP (Freie Demokratische Partei, Liberal Democratic Party) will join forces to form a so-called “traffic light coalition,” with former finance minister Olaf Scholz as federal chancellor, or whether the CDU/CSU (Christlich-Demokratische Union/Christlich-Soziale Union, Christian-Democratic Union/Christian-Social Union), Greens and FDP will form a so-called “Jamaica coalition,” and with a new political leader of the CDU as chancellor, following the withdrawal of CDU president Armin Laschet as chancellery candidate. Both hypotheses are possible. There are arguments in support of one and the other.
Moods, trends and the people associated with them are as decisive factors as are political agendas. The trend – both from the point of view of moods and politics – is in the direction of the “traffic light coalition,” even if the political crossovers between CDU/CSU and FDP are traditionally stronger than those between SPD and FDP. The so-called Union, i.e. the alliance between CDU and CSU, clearly lost the election, even though CDU/CSU and SPD are not that far apart in terms of percentage of votes won. However, even if CDU/CSU were to make an “offer” to form a coalition government led by them, who would want to join a coalition with a losing party? What might tip the scales are the Greens and the FDP, who met immediately after the election for exploratory talks on whether they should talk to the SPD or the CDU/CSU first. Also in favor of a traffic light coalition is the fact that the majority of those who voted for the first time in these elections were in favor of the Greens or the FDP.