The German federal election became a success for incumbent chancellor Angela Merkel and her CDU, but simultaneously something of a problem in that the liberal FDP, the traditional CDU/CSU ally, for the first time in German post-war history saw themselves voted out of the Bundestag. This means that Angela Merkel now has to find a new coalition partner, which by necessity would mean either the social democrats or the greens. In either of these cases it will mean lengthy and difficult talks before any coalition may be put in place.
The most likely outcome is a new grand coalition between the Christian democrats and the Social democrats, but this won’t be achieved without a great deal of bargaining. The SDP is most likely wary of sitting in a coalition as the junior partner again, with clear memories of the not all that rewarding time in the latest grand coalition of 2005-2009. The Greens on the other hand are perceived to be further from the CDU/CSU in ideology, even if the differences in key areas such as the nuclear energy question much have disappeared after the Christian democrats’ u-turn after Fukushima. A CDU/CSU-Green coalition is not ruled out, but remains the more unlikely option for now.