December 18, 2017
SPD regional party preemptively rejects grand coalition
It may not mean all that much that the SPD organisation in state of Thuringia has already, and preemptively, rejected the grand coalition. The talks haven't even started, there is no deal on the table and, who knows, Martin Schulz may pull off a few surprises in the upcoming talks.
But, as of now, we sense no support for a grand coalition and no shift in the overwhelmingly negative views of SPD members. Two senior SPD leaders spoke at the regional party congress: the deputy leader Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel and Carsten Schneider, who represent the left and right wings of the party respectively, and who both support the official policy of seeking talks with the CDU/CSU.
One of the people who are pressing hard for a new grand coalition is Sigmar Gabriel, who hopes to secure the job of finance minister in such a construction. He writes in Der Spiegel that it does not matter for the survival of the SPD whether it is in government or not. This is a statement many SPD members, including Schulz, do not agree with. Gabriel is urging the party to shift to the right by embracing a nationalist concept - the notion of the innate superiority of German culture ("Leitkultur"), a notion once championed but later dropped by the CDU, and bitterly opposed by all the other parties in the Bundestag.
It is astonishing to see the extremes people go to in order to keep their ministerial limousines.