Why did the German SPD membership vote for the coalition?

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1566 ... March 6, 2018

Why did the German SPD membership vote for the coalition?

Kevin Ovenden

At 66 per cent on a 78 per cent turnout, over half (52 per cent) of the SPD’s membership of 464,000, voted for the grand coalition. So about 241,000 for, 122,000 against (and 101,000 abstentions). That is not close. It’s a bigger victory than the 60 per cent SPD leaders were privately predicting on Friday.

Why the two-to-one vote for a coalition that has already seen the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) slump in the polls?

It’s not enthusiasm for the coalition. I suggest it’s for two reasons that I among others pointed to during the three week internal SPD campaign.

To reject the coalition would have opened the... prospect of a fresh general election with the SPD going into the campaign polling just 16 per cent or less.

The left did not have a good counter-argument to that, but instead relied largely on the assertion that there would not be another election and that Merkel would run a minority government. But that was no more than a bald assertion. Merkel made several interventions indicating that she would go to the polls, and not form a minority administration.

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