Well, people might not have liked the idea much, but Merkel sat down with the SPD and it looked like everything was going to plan to make a grand coalition. Merkel would be Bundeskanzler, and the SPD would hold the finance and foreign ministries.
But in the last few days everything seems to have gone wrong. SPD Party Chairman Franz M√?ntefering was the first to cause a problem, a candidate he supported lost an internal vote in the SPD – see this from the BBC. He will probably not form part of coalition government as employment minister and vice-chancellor.
Following hot on his heels, Edmund Stoiber now looks like he will decline the position of economy minister – see this article – and will stay instead in Bavaria, stating that if M√?ntefering is not there, the coalition must be weaker. Interestingly, M√?ntefering and Stoiber were the joint chairmen of the F√∂deralismuskommission – see this from the FAZ. Seems that Stoiber is maybe ahead of the rest – if M√?ntefering cannot control the SPD, who can, and would they possibly stick to the deals in the coalition? Or is Stoiber just fearful of compromise?
So much for the traffic light… Everything just looks red: stop. Fingers crossed for a solution, but it does not look good.