What on earth is Jamaica doing in Germany?

What on earth is Jamaica doing in Germany?
October 16, 2017

The recent German political elections determined, among other things, whether Angela Merkel were to be the Chancellor of Germany for the fourth time. Essentially, it decides how many seats each political party gets in the German parliament. The strongest party, or the one with the most seats, sends one of its members as the chancellor, who is the head of the German state.

As such, the whole process is very democratic. All German citizens over 18 get two votes and the result is out after one round. Except that this time, the result caused a bit of tumult on the German political scene.

German political parties

There are A LOT of political parties in Germany – dozens of them. But many are minor parties and are not represented in the German or the European parliament. Among some oddities I found, there seems to be a party for vegans, one for feminism, or one for spiritual politics. But let’s have a look at the parties that actually managed to gather a significant amount of support.

List of parties

  • CDU/CSU. This is the German right wing and Merkel’s party. While they share the same ideas, the CDU is the name of the party for all of Germany, except in Bavaria where they bear the CSU. One might argue that the Bavarian CSU is a bit further on the right than the CDU. They currently hold the political majority in the German parliament with 246 seats (CDU: 200; CSU: 46)
  • SPD.  The SPD is more left-wing, or center-left, and harbors the hope of bringing social democracy. Martin Schulz is the leader of the SPD and they gathered 153 seats after the last elections.
  • AfD. The last party, with 94 seats, is the nationalistic party. Probably the furthest to the right of all mentioned. It is the third party for the very first time in Germany.
  • The Greens. Germany was one of the first countries to have a strong green party. Although they only secured 67 seats in the parliament, they are still a strong party.
  • The Left (Die Linke). Further to the left than the SPD, the Left is the party the furthest to the left being with parliamentary representatives. They currently have 69 seats.
  • FDP. The FDP only has 80 seats and considers itself a liberal party. Their leader, Christian Lindner, is sometimes compared to Macron or Trudeau as a modern, liberal political figure.

Why Jamaica?

The results of the elections had a few surprises. The leading parties (CDU/SPD) came close to a tie, the AfD made over 10% (securing seats in the German parliament for the first time), the CSU performed poorly, as did the Greens. For the first time in over a decade, the CDU was not an obvious choice and Merkel was not guaranteed to be chancellor one more time. If the CDU wants to stay strong, it needs to find political allies. To do so, the media speculated on an alliance between the CDU/CSU, the green party, and the liberal FDP.

And this is how the Jamaican flag suddenly appeared. Traditionally, each party is represented by a color. The CDU is black, the Greens are green and the FDP is yellow. If the three of them decide on a coalition, we end up with the flag of Jamaica. And that is why Jamaica is all over the German news these days!

More information on the German political parties.

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