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The outcome of Germany's federal election Sunday was unexpected and disturbing, at least by German standards. The two main parties, the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Christian Democratic Union, along with its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, were punished at the ballot box, after having governed as a grand coalition under Chancellor Angela Merkel for the past four years.The SPD's performance was its worst in any federal election since the Federal Republic's first, in 1949 . Similarly, the CDU/CSU alliance turned in its second-worst showing since 1949, and the CSU suffered the worst federal election loss in its history. Merkel's greatest mistake in this election was to rely on the same defensive strategy that she used in the last two elections, when she won resoundingly.With the SPD refusing to participate in a grand coalition, the only mathematically viable option that remains is a "Jamaica" alliance – named for Jamaica's black, yellow and green flag – comprising the CDU/CSU, the liberal Free Democrats and the Greens.The only alternatives to a Jamaica coalition are a CDU/CSU minority government or a new election next spring, which would probably only strengthen the AfD's position.The Jamaica parties have a responsibility to get behind Merkel, and to compromise as necessary to form a government.
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