Nov 29, 2017

Why a “grand coalition” wouldn’t solve Germany’s problems

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Germany's Social Democrats, in a reversal, have renewed the possibility of an alliance with Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU. This would have implications beyond Germany's borders.

The three emotions of the moment:

  • Fatigue: Even if the CDU and Social Democrats (SPD) do hitch up, most Germans won't like it. Only 39 percent of them favor a renewed "Grand Coalition" of this kind. Moreover, the SPD — which is at its weakest since 1949 — will be at pains to show voters that it's not just a second-fiddle to Merkel. This means that unwieldy intra-coalition politics will hobble the Merkel's ability to act.
  • Anger: The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party now holds 92 seats in parliament. And while it's in no position to be a kingmaker, the weakness of Merkel's coalition could increase the party's anti-establishment appeal, compounding her troubles.
  • Despair: French President Emmanuel Macron's bold initiative to reform and revitalize Europe requires a strong, willing Germany. Absent that, it will be harder for Europe to cope with an increasingly assertive brand of populist nationalism.

Bottom line: Merkel will enter her fourth term significantly weakened, and that's bad news for Germany and for Europe.

Go deeper: Right-wing populists surge in Germany

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Sanders requests recount of Iowa recanvass after results show shrunken margin

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a statement Tuesday night he will request a recount of the Iowa Democratic Party's recanvass results.

Where it stands: Both Buttigieg and Sanders requested partial recanvasses in Iowa last week after results were delayed and showed several errors following a software malfunction on caucus night.

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Energy deputy secretary nominee faces heat after contradicting Trump

Mark Menezes speaks at a forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 12. Photo: Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Trump administration officials are internally raising concerns about President Trump’s nominee for Energy deputy secretary, who appeared to openly contradict the president on nuclear waste storage at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain last week.

Driving the news: While speaking at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing last Wednesday, Mark Menezes told members of the panel that the Trump administration is still interested in storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and that “what we're trying to do is to put together a process that will give us a path to permanent storage at Yucca."