To say that the Grand Coalition between CDU and SPD in Schleswig-Holstein is a match made in heaven would be … plain wrong. The exact circumstances behind the non-election of Heide Simonis as Prime Minister in 2005 have never been revealed and in many ways the grand coalition was the government nobody wanted, except neither of the minor parties could agree on any alternative.
The relationship between CDU leader and Prime Minister Peter Harry Carstensen and SPD leader Ralf Stegner is right out of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf – just a bit more poisonous. Personal tensions and political disagreements have fuelled the conflict.
Now, we are in Mexican stand-off territory (except in SH you only need two actors) as CDU leader and Prime Minister Peter Harry Carstensen has decided to abandon the coalition and call for early elections (they were due in February 2010, but CDU wants a term in September). Only problem: You need a 2/3 majority to dissolve the Landtag – and the SPD does not want early elections.
My posts on the 2005 Punch-and-Judy show: