By Hanif Ghaffari 

What is Steinmeier thinking about?

January 14, 2018

TEHRAN - The President of Germany have difficult and busy days. The Christian parties and the Social Democratic Party have begun negotiations for a major coalition in Germany since January 7th. The talks that European leaders are hoping to put an end to months of political instability in Berlin. However, Frank Walter Steinmeier is well aware that it won't be easy to direct and manage negotiations inside the German coalition government.

 Steinmeier recently called for progress on negotiations to re-establish a major coalition at a meeting with senior government officials on the occasion of the New Year in the presence of "Angela Merkel", Christian Democrat leader and Social Democratic Party leader "Martin Schultz". This is Steinmeier's standpoint as one of the leading figures in the Social Democratic Party. He was also the former Minister for Foreign Affairs in Merkel's government.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is specifically counting on the support of Steinmeier in forming a coalition government. However, Steinmeier has concerns that can't be easily overtaken. The most important concern of Steinmeier in this regard is the fundamental disagreement between the Social Democratic Party and Christian Democrats. This disagreement, over the past four years, have shown itselfin issues such as German foreign policy in Europe, the regulation of economic relations between Berlin and Europe, and most importantly,during the crisis of asylum seekers.

 On the other hand, Steinmeier, who, not long ago, was the rival of Merkel for winning the German Chancellorship, is well aware of Merkel's particular and rigorous political ethics in a possible coalition government. That's why Steinmeier as Germany's President, called for the quick formation of a coalition government on the one hand, and, on the other hand, as a senior Social-Democratic Party member, has concerns over this issue.

Steinmeier is also worried about the fall in the popularity of traditional parties in Germany. The results of recent polls in Germany show that the popularity of the two Social Democratic Party and Christian Democrats in Germany has declined. Meanwhile, the "Alternative for Germany" was able to attract the public opinion of Germany by gaining about 13.5 percent of the vote. In the run-up to the 2017 general elections in Germany, the "Alternative for Germany", by winning about 13% of the vote, entered the parliament as the third party in the country.

 At the same time, the Social Democrats had the worst possible electoral results over the past few years.This is how the extremist AFD members have become a threat for the Social-Democratic Party. Under such circumstances, Steinmeier's concerns about the current situation in his party can be understood. Steinmeier hopes that with the formation of a coalition government in Germany, it would be possible to restrain the movements of the "Alternative for Germany", although some analysts of the German affairs believe that the turning of the right-wing extremists into the main opposition in Germany is strongly threatening the traditional parties in this country right now.

Polls in Germany show a decline in the popularity of traditional parties in the country. The two Social Democratic and Christian Democratic parties have begun negotiations for a coalition government, which according to the latest polls in Germany, the total popularity of these two parties barely exceeds 50%. This very well shows that the traditional parties are in the worst possible situation, and the views of the German citizens are changing in favor of the right-wing extremists. 

According to the INSA Institute, the popularity of the extremist party of "Alternative for Germany" reached 13.5 percent. In other words, the popularity of right-wing extremists in Germany has even increased slightly since the time of the election. On the other side, a total of 51 percent of German citizens have a positive attitude toward both the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats. This is while until now, Germany's main competition has been between the two traditional parties, and the coalition of these two parties is also referred to as the "Great Coalition." 

 But if this trend continues, the total votes of the two traditional German parties will be below 50%.In such a situation, the coalition of the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats can't be considered as a major coalition in Germany, because other German parties such as the Green Party, the Left Party, the Liberal Democrats and the AFD can easily challenge such a coalition in the German Parliament (Bundestag). 

During the recent elections competitions in Germany, we saw a decrease in the votes of both Social Democrats and Christian Democrats. Both traditional German parties have made the worst possible results in recent decades. Nownegotiations are underway on the formation of a coalition government in Germany. Some experts and analysts of Germany and Europe affairs mention that even if a coalition government is formed, the next German government will face continuous crises. These crises are due to the fundamental differences between the two traditional parties. The talks between the Christian parties and Social Democrats for re-forming the coalition has begun since January 7 this year. 

Finally, surveys in Germany indicate a change in the political viewpoints of German citizens and their turning away from the traditional parties in this country. This is the best possible news for the far-right movements in Germany. Undoubtedly, now the leaders of the AFD are going to increase their efforts. It should be noted that if a coalition government is formed between Christian parties and the Social-Democratic Party, the Alternative for Germany will become the main opposition party of this coalition government. In this way, the party will enjoy popular support for itself, while challenging Merkel's economic, political, security and social programs. And this is what many analysts of Germany's affairs have been seriously warning about.

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