The red-green coalition

Charles Lees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a recent interview with the magazine Stern, Green Environment Minister
Jiirgen Trittin claimed that, on the basis of his experience, there was no
longer much to choose between the SPD and the CDU. As a result, Trittin
argued, the Greens should no longer be in thrall to the Social Democrats but
should be prepared to consider the Christian Democrats as potential
coalition partners, at least in the medium term.' Trittin's remarks were
immediately condemned by politicians within his own party, as well as the
SPD and - more surprisingly - the CDU itself! Few can doubt that they
were at least in part the product of frustration with the red-green coalition's
somewhat shaky start in office.
The coalition agreement of October 1998 identified three main themes
which were to provide the core of the red-green legislative programme.
First, the reduction of unemployment by up to a million over the four-year
term. Second, rapid withdrawal from the use of nuclear power and a parallel
programme of ecological tax reform. Third, the reform of Germany's
citizenship laws, in order better to reflect the multi-cultural reality of life in
the Federal Republic. Of these three themes, the first can be regarded as a
traditional social democratic concern, whilst the other two are the result of
'New Left' thinking within the party and, of course, co-operation with the
Greens. After only a few months in office, the government's plans in all
three areas lie in tatters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-203
Number of pages31
JournalGerman Politics
Issue number2: Bundestagswahl'98: The End of an Era?
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • election
  • red-green coalition
  • Germany


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