In North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s largest state, it looks like the next government will be a SPD-Green minority administration. The incumbent CDU-FDP coalition failed to retain its majority in recent elections, and the outgoing premier, Juergen Ruettgers, announced on Saturday that he would not stand for re-election as premier in the new assembly.
The SPD and Greens are two seats short of a majority, and will rely on the backing or abstention of the Left Party to sustain their cabinet.
Other outcomes were possible, and maybe even seemed more likely following the election: a CDU-SPD grand coalition, or a CDU-FDP-Green coalition, for example. But negotiations for such alternatives led nowhere.
Questions I hope someone will know the answer to:
1. How common are minority cabinets in German states?
2. Is this the first time outside the former GDR that a government has needed at least tacit backing from the Left?
Because states’ Bundesrat delegations are appointed by state governments, this will mean the federal coalition of the CDU/CSU and FDP will lose its majority in the second chamber.