Germany’s current coalition was born out of necessity and has been beset by crisis. In March 2018, the Social Democrats reluctantly agreed to govern again with Angela Merkel’s conservatives after Merkel’s other options evaporated.
The Grand Coalition has been brought close to the verge of collapse in the past on a number of occasions by infighting over the government’s migration policy, for instance, and a scandal surrounding the then intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maaßen. Merkel’s CDU, its sister party, the CSU, and the center-left SPD have all been punished at the ballot boxes, both at state elections and the 2019 European elections. In addition the government has faced unexpected challenges from other quarters, such as the Fridays for Future protests organized by school children and the Youtuber Rezo. The leaders of all three coalition parties have stepped down, but Merkel’s successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, is facing considerable pressure from her own party. Despite some success stories, the Grand Coalition has been unable to regain voter confidence. Is this just about the Grand Coalition? Or does this spell the end of Germany‘s mainstream parties and the country’s consensus-based model of government. Reporter Stephan Lamby has been closely tracking the progress of the Grand Coalition since spring 2018. He has conducted exclusive interviews with politicians involved in the Grand Coalition, such as German interior minister Horst Seehofer, CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and German finance minister Olaf Scholz (SPD). And he has spoken to their critics - such as Green Party co-leader Robert Habeck, Hans-Georg Maaßen and the young Youtuber whose viral videos have been shaking up politics.