The German government is struggling to hold on

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The German government is struggling to hold on

VISITORS to Germany capital can confuse Berlin Schnauze (literally “snout”), an earthy form of local spirit, for bad humor. But there should be no mistake about the atmosphere that reigns in Germany today. A deep malaise has settled in the country. Four-fifths of Germans say they are unhappy with their leaders. And a series of upcoming political and electoral trials could test the government to the breaking point.

In December 2021, the Social Democrats (speed), the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats (fdp) have come together in Germany’s first tripartite coalition in more than 60 years. After 16 stable but uninspired years under Angela Merkel, the parties of Ampel (“traffic lights,” after their party colors) managed to produce a plausible story for their awkward grouping. Climate change would place enormous demands on Germany’s industrial economy, and the country’s creaking bureaucracy needed to be pulled into the 21st century. The needs of the moment required a cleansing of the political stables. The three parties may not agree on all policies, but they share a common commitment to modernizing the country.

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