Home Contact Us  
   

India - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#5375, 4 October 2017
 
German Elections Results: Impact on Foreign Policy
Kai Frstenberg
Independent researcher, Germany
 

The 2017 German federal election produced results partly anticipated by analysts but were shocking nevertheless. For the past five decades, the Bundestag (federal parliament) was dominated by the two major parties, the Christian democrats Christian Democratic Union of Germany/CDU, and the Christian Social Union in Bavaria/ CSU) on the conservative side and the social democrats (Social Democratic Party of Germany/SPD) on the left, with both parties overlapping in the middle, the liberal spectrum. Since re-unification in 1990, there were also three smaller parties from the liberal-left (Free Democratic Party/FDP, and the the Greens/green party) to the radical left spectrum The Left/Left party) in the Bundestag. Up until now, the bundesrepublikanische Konsens (federal republican consensus) was that there are not to be any parties to the right of the CDU/CSU at the federal level. 

The 2017 elections have made this consensus obsolete. The two major parties, which usually commanded a two-thirds majority of seats between them, shrank down to just a little over half the parliamentary seats. And with the Alternative für Deutschland (alternative for Germany/AfD), a right-wing party has entered the Bundestag for the first time in fifty years; and with a stunning, if not completely unexpected result of almost 13 per cent of the votes.

With the worst electoral result in the history of federal elections, the SPD had almost no choice than to become an opposition party to find its own way away from the consensus-seeking grand coalition. That, however, limits the CDU/CSU’s options to form a government. The party also achieved the worst result in their history, but remained the strongest party with about a third of the seats. Without the SPD as an option, the CDU/CSU under Chancellor Angela Merkel can only form a coalition with the FDP and the Green Party. That will be a difficult task, however, since the FDP and the Green Party have fundamental differences and both are strongly opposing many policies proposed by the CSU. The only consensus so far is not to include the AfD in any coalition talks. 

The AfD’s success is the second major fallout of the elections. The party, originally built around the rejection of the Euro, has steered to the right, trying to cash-in on the protest against immigration policies. Since then, the party stood for increasingly right-extremist positions, being anti-Islam, anti-immigration, anti-remembrance  and anti-liberal. The party was able to mobilise voters who were dissatisfied with the grand-coalition politics, had irrational fears of migrants (the party was especially strong in areas with a low percentage of migrants) and feared economic and social decline. While their success is certainly very worrying, their position is already unstable. Party leader Frauke Petry has already announced quitting the AfD parliamentary group and some of her allies of the national-conservative wing of the party are likely to follow suit. Many of the more than 90 representatives belong to the extreme right and, often openly, despise parliamentary proceedings. Most of them have little political experience. The likely outcome for the AfD faction will be an unproductive fundamental-opposition if not a complete breakdown and separation in at least two competing factions. 

How will this impact Germany's foreign policy, especially towards South Asia and India?

The exact impact is difficult to estimate. The next German government, likely a coalition of CDU/CSU, the FDP and the Green Party will have to deal with the unusual situation of having a right-wing party in the Bundestag. That is already a challenge that will take away a lot of attention from other topics. 

On the foreign politics level, the next German government faces huge challenges in Europe itself. The ongoing Brexit negotiations are a source of anxiety, especially with a British government unable to present clear and realistic options for the Brexit and half a year of the two year negotiation period already gone. The next battlefield is the European Union itself, with institutional challenges, like the proposed reforms by French President Emmanuel Macron, and the challenge of European integration of nationalist governments in Poland, Hungary and other eastern European states. The third major challenge will be the immigration from Africa, especially with a government participation of the Green Party. The Greens are likely to oppose solutions like refugee-camps in Libya and military support for states like Chad and Mali that are currently involved in immigration strategies by European governments.

All this would mean that South Asia in general and India in particular will not be a top priority of the next German government. That might not be such a bad thing for the Indian government, since the internal European problems take attention away from the negative consequences of demonetisation and the shrinking economic growth that might deter economic involvement by Germany. Also it might be politically advantageous if the German government does not look too closely into human rights issues in India. India might come into focus, however, when Brexit is actually finalised and the German government is pushing for trade agreements with India. The pro-business FDP might play an important role in pushing for such agreements.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Modi: Perspectives from Europe

Indo-German Relations: Implications of 2013 German Federal Elections

Iran's New President: Domestic Challenges for Rohani

Iran's New President: Foreign Policy Challenges for Rohani

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.