Merkel's Grand Coalition Hits a Rocky Patch

Her No. 2 gone, can chancellor hold government together?
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2007 9:56 AM CST
German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, outgoing Vice Chancellor Franz Muentefering and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, from left, talk during a session of the German Federal Parliament Bundestag...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – On the second anniversary of her taking office, the German media reports on new troubles for Angela Merkel's increasingly fractious grand coalition, which has two years to go but seems unlikely to push through the difficult reforms the chancellor promised. With last week's resignation of Franz Müntefering, the government's No. 2, Merkel has lost her closest partner from the other side of the aisle, and cooperation is giving way to squabbling.

Without Müntefering, the Social Democrats will shift further to the left, making compromise with Merkel's Christian Democrats even more difficult than before. Germany's president recently deplored the fact that the grand coalition is too weak to get anything done, and jockeying for position in the next election battle has already begun—even though polls aren't likely until 2009.