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Konrad Werner: Proper democracy

No one likes the CDU-SPD coalition deal, but that doesn't means it's undemocratic. Well, maybe a bit, but not the way that ZDF newsreader thinks.

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Photo by Mehr Demokratie e.V. (Flickr CC)

As everyone knew they would be, no one is happy with the CDU-SPD coalition deal. Except the party leaders who made it. And they might only be pretending to because it’s their job, which must be exhausting. The SPD members, who are set to vote on the coalition contract in the next couple of weeks, are nervous because they think that it might be a compromise of all their principles, and if they spend another four years as Merkel’s majority-guaranteeing bitches then people might lose the last sliver of respect that anyone had for them and they will get kicked out and have to move into a motel and eat mainly microwave dinners.

On the other hand, CDU voters are not happy, because the CDU scored a massive victory in September, and now they have to slum it with those SPD losers, again. This man, for instance, thinks it’s undemocratic that left-wing people are allowed to have any say in anything ever again because Merkel got 41.5 percent of the vote and so reckons that in a real democracy the one party that wins should decide everything.

There was a similar argument (counting more people’s votes is ACTUALLY LESS democratic, no, wait, think about it) from the ZDF’s newsreader Marietta Slomka, who told SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel that letting his members vote on the coalition deal meant that the nutcases who join his party were like, Stalin, or something. As Gabriel pointed out, the alternative is letting only the party leaders vote, so she is talking Quatsch.

Gabriel could have told Slomka that she should thank her lucky stars that his party are such a bunch of spineless power hungry compromisers, because they could have won all the tiny, slightly left-wing concessions they got in the coalition deal – and a lot more of the things in their election manifesto – if they’d used the massive left-wing parliamentary majority made up by the SPD, the Greens, and die Linke and just started passing all the laws they felt like.

Even in the first-past-the-post system that Posener would prefer, it’s the parliament that is elected, not the chancellor and her ministers, and the Bundestag actually HAS a majority for things like an immediate minimum wage, (rather than the toned down, delayed one in the coalition agreement) and the SPD’s anti-austerity European policies (not mentioned in the coalition deal), is already there in the Bundestag. 

Gabriel could have told Slomka that, but he didn’t. Because then he might not have got a cabinet seat.