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Hans Mommsen

The role of Konrad Adenauer in the proceedings of the Parliamentary Council in Bonn and his decision after his election as first federal chancellor not to form a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party paved the way to a fundamental transformation of the traditional German democratic paradigm versus the Anglo-Saxon concept of interaction between government and parliamentary opposition. The inherited pattern of constitutional democracy that had contributed to the structural weaknesses of Weimar parliamentarism was replaced by the concept of an interaction between government and opposition. Political parties took on the primary tasks of securing stable parliamentary majorities and providing sufficient electoral support for the chancellor. Adenauer's resolved political leadership, therefore, was an indispensable contribution to the reorientation of West German political culture from the former distrust of unrestricted parliamentary sovereignty toward Western democratic traditions.

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Charles Lees

The eighteenth Bundestag elections of 22 September 2013 brought important changes to the Bundestag party system, some of which are contingent but others of which are more systemic and profound. The narrow failure of the FDP to scale the electoral threshold has had an impact on coalition negotiations and the improvement in the overall vote share for the CDU/CSU and the SPD, for the first time since the 1960s represents a significant, if probably only temporary, concentration of the German party system in the Bundestag. More systemically, the election saw a continuation of the ongoing redistribution of voting power in the Bundestag in favor of the catch-all parties as formateurs. The article also discusses how the increased importance of the potential formateuer parties has gone hand-in-hand with a greater focus on the individual leading candidates, and concludes that this is particularly good news for the CDU/CSU, given the political qualities of Angela Merkel and the failure of the SPD to find and support a leading candidate that can match her political acumen.

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Beverly Crawford

What follows is a fictitious scenario, a "thought experiment," meant to project a particular future for Germany if certain assumptions hold. Scenarios are hypotheses that rest on a set of assumptions and one or two "wild cards." They can reveal forces of change that might be otherwise hidden, discard those that are not plausible, and describe the future of trends that are relatively certain. Indeed, scenarios create a particular future in the same way that counterfactual methods create a different past. Counterfactual methods predict how events would have unfolded had a few elements of the story been changed, with a focus on varying conditions that seem important and that can be manipulated. For instance, to explore the effects of military factors on the likelihood of war, one might ask: "how would pre 1914 diplomacy have evolved if the leaders of Europe had not believed that conquest was easy?" Or to explore the importance of broad social and political factors in causing Nazi aggression: "How might the 1930s have unfolded had Hitler died in 1932?" The greater the impact of the posited changes, the more important the actual factors that were manipulated. Assuming that the structure of explanation and prediction are the same, scenario writing pursues a similar method. But, instead of seeking alternative explanations for the past, scenarios project relative certainties and then manipulate the important but uncertain factors, to create a plausible story about the future.

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The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

Angela Merkel, the Grand Coalition, and “Majority Rule” in Germany

Joyce Marie Mushaben

In September 2013, Angela Merkel won a third term as federal chancellor, securing 42 percent of the vote for her Christian Democratic Party ( cdu ). The only open question throughout the campaign was not whether Germany’s first female leader would

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Thomas Saalfeld

A comparison of the 2005-2009 cabinet Merkel I (the “Grand“ Coalition) and the Christian Democrat-Liberal coalition cabinet Merkel II formed in 2009 presents an interesting puzzle. Political commentators and coalition theorists alike would have expected the CDU/CSU-SPD coalition to experience a relatively high, and the CDU/CSU-FDP coalition a relatively low level of overt inter-party conflict. In reality, however, relations in the CDU/CSU-FDP coalition were relatively conflictive, whereas the Grand Coalition seemed to manage conflict between reluctant partners successfully. This article seeks to explain these seemingly paradoxical differences between the two coalitions. It demonstrates that both the positioning of the coalition parties in the policy space and important institutions constraining coalition bargaining after the formation of the cabinet Merkel II (portfolio allocation, role of the CDU/CSU state minister presidents) disadvantaged the FDP in pursuing its key policy goals (especially tax reform). As a result, the Liberals resorted to “noisy“ tactics in the public sphere. The grand coalition, by contrast, was an alliance of co-equals, which facilitated a more consensual management of inter-party conflict.

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Germany and the United States

Whither “Partners in Leadership”?

Matthew Rhodes

Before a farewell trip to Berlin in November 2016, (a sixth to Germany while in office) u.s . President Barack Obama hailed Chancellor Angela Merkel as his “closest international partner.” 1 Indeed, the confluence of calibrated u.s . retrenchment

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Katrin Scharfenkamp and Alexander Dilger

Are the highest politicians better qualified than their peers? In this article, we analyze differences between chancellors, vice chancellors, and ministers of the inner or residual cabinets of the German federal governments between 1949 and 2009 with respect to their social backgrounds and educational, economic, as well as political human capital. Different statistical methods reveal no clear primacy of chancellors or vice chancellors over other members of government. Interestingly, inner cabinets have higher qualifications than residual cabinets, as well as partly chancellors and vice chancellors.

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Stephen F. Szabo

. The weakening of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s position and the anticipation that she will leave office during or at the end of this term have made the weakening of Germany’s leadership role in Europe and especially on Russia policy more likely. While

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Eric Langenbacher

politicians squabble, but Chancellor Angela Merkel will persist There is, however, much brewing underneath the surface. Expectations are rapidly mounting for the new grand coalition government—and not just for programs and policies domestically. Responses to

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Mobilizing Meanings

Translocal Identities of the Far Right Web

Patricia Anne Simpson

the stereotypical mold: As a young man, he was a member of “Junge Union,” the youth organization of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats. He’s a high school history teacher on leave and a married father of four. He lives in the