Germanys Tenuous Coalition Government Shows Strain

Logo The New York TimesThe New York Times
2023-05-30 09:01:42  • 6 mins

Tensions in the three-party government have built for months. But the latest sniping is unusually fierce, raising fresh questions of dysfunction.

BERLIN Germanys coalition government was always an awkward trio of center-left Social Democrats, climate-conscious Greens and pro-business Free Democrats. Yet in the heady days after their election victory in 2021, the parties vowed to stick to a tradition of consensus-driven politics, keeping the drama behind closed doors.

Those doors have now swung open.

In recent days, the parties have engaged in an unusual level of public sniping over a wonkish bill with the seemingly humble aim of reducing fossil fuel emissions from heaters in homes and other buildings.

While the stakes would seem relatively minor, the level of vitriol has been anything but, reflecting a new era in which Germanys once-staid politics have turned more fractious.

No one is predicting a collapse of the coalition. But the public sparring has raised questions over how Germany will meet commitments to Europes climate goals as well as Chancellor Olaf Scholzs ability to maintain effective stewardship of Europes most powerful economy.

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