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Home Opinion The SPD's coalition moment?

The SPD's coalition moment?

Charles Lees - 26 May 2010


Globalisation, the advent of the post-industrial knowledge-based economy and other sweeping societal transformations have all combined to radically change voter preferences and the electoral map. It is increasingly clear that the pressures of division and fragmented constituencies necessitate progressive coalition building among parties and actors on the centre-left, in particular within systems of proportional representation.

In Germany, the victory of the SPD in 1998 after more than a decade in opposition was partly built on a successful coalition strategy with the Greens. Since then, the emergence of Die Linke has brought a new party to the table and reinforced “co-opetition”. In contrast to the Greens, Die Linke is not seen as a reliable partner at federal level despite being in coalition with the SPD in many Landers.

As support for Germany's traditional "catch-all" parties declines, Charles Lees argues that Germany’s changing political landscape might prove highlyadvantageous for the SPD if new coalition formulas are pursued with political courage and strategic imagination.

Dr. Charles Lees is a senior lecturer in the Department of Politics at Sheffield University. He is also secretary of the Association for the Study of German Politics (ASGP)

Policy Network will launch a major new research programme on “The ideological renewal of European Social Democracy – A new revisionism for the 21st century” in Amsterdam on 30th June- 1 July

This is a contribution to Policy Network's work on Globalisation and Governance.

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The Policy Network Observatory promotes critical debate and reflection on progressive politics. It is centre-left orientated but determinedly challenges social democracy. It is pro-European but restlessly questions EU institutions and practices.

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