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The spectacle surrounding the recent talks to form a new coalition government in Germany is a bellwether of voter discontent.The emerging grand coalition, which includes the conservative Christian Democratic Union, its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union and the left-leaning Social Democratic Party (SPD), holds just over 50 percent, making it significantly less grand than in the previous two governments.The party, which is, at best, only partly loyal to democracy, appears set to become the largest opposition group in the Bundestag.A coalition agreement spelling out some of the main items for the upcoming legislative period was used first by the CDU and the Free Democratic Party in the early 1960s.Until a few years ago, this shift in focus for the Bundestag was not particularly problematic. But the main political parties have lately been losing their foothold in local communities, with the CDU/CSU and the SPD now relying on significantly lower membership. The CDU and CSU leadership, not bound by a party vote, have already signaled their acceptance of the coalition pact. German democracy is being strangled by strict coalition contracts.
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