Seeking AfD alternative, center-left parties form coalition in Rhineland-Palatinate | News | DW | 09.05.2016
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Seeking AfD alternative, center-left parties form coalition in Rhineland-Palatinate

Center-left parties the SPD and Greens are set to form a coalition with the free market liberals the FDP in the western state. This ensures that Chancellor Merkel's CDU and the controversial AfD are out of government.

The ideologically disparate Green Party, Social Democrats (SPD) and Free Democrats (FDP) looked likely to form a government together on Monday in Germany's western state of Rhineland-Palatinate. This unlikely formation comes nearly two months after regional elections saw the young right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) undermine the strength of traditional parties.

The three parties inched closer to creating a coalition on Monday evening when the FDP voted by a margin of 82 percent to join the two parties that had ruled the state since 2011, the Greens and the SPD, and give them the necessary majority.

What made this call interesting was twofold: First of all, it sees the SPD, a traditional center-left party that got the largest amount of voter support (35.7 percent), join forces with the two smallest parties that managed to win seats. This ensures thatthe Christian Democrats (CDU), Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, and the nationalist AfD were cut out of the government.

Strange bedfellows

The second out of the ordinary facet to this coalition was that the FDP, economic liberals and civil libertarians, usually chose to partner with their fellow center-right party, the CDU.

The Greens had already agreed to the coalition, and the SPD was expected to follow suit on Wednesday. On May 18, the SPD Minister President of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer (pictured above), will likely be re-elected to her post by the parliament.

Mainstream parties may well have a good reason for wanting to keep the AfD out of government, though at 12.6 of the vote it came in third behind the SPD and CDU (32.5 percent). Since its inception in 2013, the right-wing party has continued to court controversy - from its original, anti-EU inception to its recent adoption of a stance against Islam in Germany in its party manifesto.

es/bw (AFP, dpa)

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