The First Bulletin of the German Government by Helmut K. Anheier


Although Germany’s three-party coalition government inherited multiple brewing crises when it came to power 100 days ago, it has risen to the occasion in many ways. But since each of the parties has already had to abandon some of its fundamental principles, maintaining unity will be an ongoing challenge.

BERLIN — The centuries-old American tradition of evaluating a government’s first 100 days has found its way to Germany, where experts rate the performance of Chancellor Olaf Scholz Ampelkoalition (“traffic light coalition”), made up of the Social Democrats (SPD), the Liberal Democrats (FDP) and the Greens.

the Ampelkoalition is Germany’s first three-party government since the 1950s. For this to work, each party had to bow to sacred principles and adopt political positions that previously would have seemed unthinkable. And while that would have been a remarkable achievement at the best of times, no new government since the founding of the Federal Republic in 1949 has had a more difficult start, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, even more so, of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

German policy changed dramatically almost overnight. For a country that prefers consensual, deliberate and unsurprising decision-making, many of the recent and sudden political shifts have been profound and will alter the trajectory of Germany’s domestic and foreign policy for decades to come. But if Scholz fails to manage the short-term fallout of these changes and the inevitable tensions they will create within the coalition, his chancellorship could be the shortest since the Weimar Republic.

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