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Coalition fights for survival


Dunkle Wolken über dem Kanzleramt: Die Regierungskoalition muss ums Überleben kämpfen. Quelle: ap

Dark clouds over the Chancellery: The coalition government must fight for survival. Source: AP

BERLIN. After the previously difficult week in the black-yellow government time to try the tips from Union and the FDP, to prevent a breakup of the coalition. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has spoken in a few days ago a foot down to end the mutual attacks in the government. "We need to offer people at a difficult time reliability. Only then can we regain trust, "Merkel said.

The Liberals are fighting for unity. "Union and the FDP must know: Our coalition lives from the fact that you comply to what has been agreed," said Federal Minister Rainer Brüderle (FDP) to the Handelsblatt.

For days, the coalition partners had abused, and is known as the "Warthog" and "cucumber force." In addition to the personal differences are also serials cracks on key policy issues. The gulf between opinions in the election of Lower Saxony Premier Christian Wulff (CDU) to the President, the multi-billion savings package and the health care reform.

In particular, the claims from the ranks of the Union for an increase in the top rate annoy the coalition partners. "The red line for the FDP in the coalition are tax increases. This must all know in the Union, "said FDP financial expert Hermann Otto Solms, the Handelsblatt. Volker Wissing, spokesman for the Liberal fiscal added: "We have with the Union on a growth-oriented policies agreed, therefore, to prohibit tax increases. They are a slap in the face of the political center. "

Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) Looking after the sensitivities of the FDP little. He holds a higher top tax rate is conceivable if the Bundestag in the renegotiations of the austerity package decide. "It is good law of the Member, the government’s measures to replace it with another," said Schäuble, the news magazine "Der Spiegel". This could also apply for a higher top rate of income tax: "Why not?"

For the FDP are such an affront rates. Solms financial expert accuses the finance minister, that he contradicts himself. "Schäuble can not say that it will promote more economic growth, and increase the middle class taxes," criticized Solms. "The Union is not predictable," says the party leadership.

Such ricochets are not unique. Late last week the coalition would have failed almost at the dispute over state aid Opel. Chancellor Merkel had said after the No. of Economics Brüderle that "had the last word" not yet spoken. "Merkel had then promised federal aid Opel, the coalition would not have been more kitten," said one from the party leadership. Brüderle zurückzupfeifen was simply as a deliberate provocation have been seen. "There needs to be done much auszuwetzen the saddle."

It change anything that Merkel had beaten in the end on the side of the Economy. "The party spirit is chafed," it says in the environment of FDP leader Guido Westerwelle. To bad mood, the most recent surveys have contributed significantly. Accordingly, the FDP is in favor of the voters, only five percent, a loss of two thirds of the votes compared to the elections last fall. One Emnid survey found that 55 percent of citizens expect even a premature end to the black-yellow alliance.

Country leaders at the barricades

The country’s leaders already grumbling openly about the Chancellor. "We sometimes had the impression that Mrs Merkel thwarting the coalition. This should not happen again, so that does not raise the question whether the coalition has meaning, "said Baden-Wuerttemberg FDP leader Hans-Ulrich Rülke. His colleague, North Rhine-Westphalia, Gerhard Papke Merkel demanded "a contribution to the culture of cooperation".

Some federations are thinking about to let Merkel stuck on the Federal election. This allows open the Saxon and Thuringian FDP, whether on 30 June Merkel’s preferred candidate choose Wulff. In the eastern German state associations is growing sentiment for the red-green candidate Joachim Gauck, although party leader Westerwelle advertises in person at the group leaders for Wulff.

It is too early, as the CDU and FDP again pull together. The return to a normal tone was the minimum requirement in order to win back the voters trust, says the coalition. "The aim must be that black and yellow, their candidate for the Federal President durchbringt and then implement more than one reform," said a board member of the Union to the Handelsblatt.

This includes the health care reform. In this week to the heads of coalition parties seek a way out of the controversial reforms. "The struggle to stop the coalition must be finite. Work must now be to make the similarities in the foreground, "said Jörg van Essen, Parliamentary Secretary of the FDP, the Handelsblatt.