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Germany's upcoming federal election on 26 September is likely to prove just the starting point for a period of political uncertainty and torpor, given that there is the strong likelihood of a three-party coalition being required to form a majority gov't.

  • As the graphic below shows, if two parties are from the same political bloc (CDU and FDP on the centre-right, SPD and Greens on the centre-left) the coalition talks take around a month or so. However, if parties of opposite ideologies seek to form a gov't (as with the CDU-SPD 'grand coalitions' of 2005, 2013 and 2017, then the negotiation period can take a lot longer.
  • With three parties likely to be required to form a majority, with cross-bloc cooperation needed, then incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel could be leading a caretaker gov't for many months into the future.

Chart 1. Length of Time in Days between Election and Swearing in of Gov't

Source: Bundestag, Statista. N.b Black=CDU, Red=SPD, Gold=FDP, Green=Greens