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German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a meeting at the Reichstag building, Berlin, Nov. 20, 2017 (AP photo by Markus Schreiber).

Why the Problems for Germany’s Centrists Are Only Beginning

Monday, Dec. 4, 2017

BERLIN—Two months after Germany’s federal elections, the country is on the brink of an unexpected political crisis. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats, or CDU, and their sister party, the Christian Socialists, or CSU, ran first in the vote, but they finished without an outright majority. Since election night, they have been casting about for coalition partners—a process that has proven surprisingly more difficult than political pundits anticipated.

The alternatives, if Merkel can’t form a coalition, are either for the CDU/CSU alliance to rule as a fragile minority government or, more likely, for new elections to take place. The latter option has spooked Germany’s liberal establishment. The far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, ran a strong third in the September vote, and there are deep fears they would be the main beneficiaries of a new vote. ...

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