The ballot is still a major hurdle on the way to a renewed Groko, given the
widespread reservation among the SPD.
The SPD leadership team will campaign decidedly for the intended coalition and they indeed have something
to offer. While the CDU/CSU has largely watered down the implementation of
some of the SPD’s heartfelt wishes, like a the merger of the private and the
public health care insurance schemes, the coalition treaty bears the SPD’s
imprint, most visibly in the increased government spending.
The SPD can also claim victory regarding the cabinet reshuffle (see below). In addition, the SPD
members should be aware of the consequences of a veto, namely a severe
SPD leadership crisis and snap elections. The latter would most likely erode the
SPD’s role further. In the latest surveys the SPD has lost further compared to
the already relatively poor result in the past federal election.
We therefore expect the SPD members to agree to the coalition treaty, albeit
with a thin majority. Thus, in a reasonable timeline, Angela Merkel’s re-election
as Chancellor could be scheduled for early- or mid-March, at the latest – i.e.
Before the next meeting of the European Council on March 22 to 23. Still SPD
members might not see the party’s stronger representation at the cabinet table
as sufficient compensation for the CDU/CSU’s only lukewarm accommodation of
the amendments requested at the SPD’s latest party convention.