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Bad news from Germany

Elections with uncertain results

The tight and uncertain outcome of the German parliamentary elections has once again shown the difficulties experienced by democracies today, and which are to the delight of autocrats and dictators.

It will not be easy to form a majority, whereas Germany has become accustomed to the stability of a peaceful parliamentary democracy. The concern to represent all the tendencies of a divided opinion, illustrated by a complex voting system, will once again oblige the Germans to form a coalition.

In Europe, government agreements require more and more parties, sometimes up to 4. There are now 13 of them. 

Coalitions are numerous and plethoric; negotiations to build them are long and arduous.

The large traditional parties are experiencing a decline in public opinion and are regressing everywhere. Their failures benefit emerging parties or the extremes.

And so the Greens have benefited from the erosion of the most powerful parties, while the extremes have prospered on their difficulty in distinguishing themselves from one another.

Populism arises from the hope of policy change when the constraints impose very similar or even identical policies on the stakeholders.

The differences between the left and the right are often difficult to identify when economic and financial realities take hold and this does not help citizens draw closer to political life.

As a result, elections are increasingly about people rather than programmes.

In Europe, this is leading to countries governed by executives who are just taking care of daily affairs. Belgium recently waited 589 days, or 19 months, to form a government, the Netherlands has not yet managed to form a majority since 17 March, namely 7 months.

Apparently, this situation is not so dramatic and does not prevent growth or stability! But not all States would cope so calmly with the absence of a government legitimised by elections.

It is now Germany's turn to enter this period of uncertainty. Several types of coalition are possible. And although the party that dominated the previous legislature seems to be defeated, it might not be its opponent, which previously governed with it, that will necessarily be the winner...

These results are therefore bad news for Germany and for Europe. The tarnished image of party politics could be compounded by the immobility of hard-fought coalition agreements set in stone. And this is quite the opposite of what we need right now!