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The Conversation: Germany's grand coalition gets the green light - but pressure mounts on SPD leader Martin Schulz

Politics and International Relations 30 January 2018

Dr Patricia Hogwood, Reader in European Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster, has written an article for The Conversation about the political coalition in Germany and the pressure of party leaders.

In the article, Dr Hogwood explained how tense debate at the Social Democratic Party (SPD) conference leading to the coalition negotiations of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) resulted in relief. She said: “Had the conference rejected the talks, the alternatives would have been inconclusive at best and, at worst, might have realised Germany’s historic fear of government instability.”

Commenting on the uncertainty of Schulz’s political future, Dr Hogwoord said: “Schulz has not overcome an existential party crisis, he has merely postponed it.” Due to his doubted credibility following his U-turn over the Groko, Dr Hogwood added: “The NoGroKo group’s main target is in fact its own party’s leadership. The movement believes that the current party bosses are complacent and out of touch with the party grassroots.”

For the SPD to enter a new government it must be endorsed by 440,000 party members. “Unfortunately for Schulz, the delegates at the Bonn conference and the grassroots membership represent two entirely different intra-party clienteles. To convince both will stretch Schulz’s damaged credibility to its limits.”

Concluding looking toward the future, Dr Hogwood said: “All this means that Schulz can expect a rollercoaster ride over the coming months.”

Read the full article on The Conversation website.

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