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Report on Macedonia- Silence and Understatements

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Macedonia is for most people an unknown country, despite the fact that the Macedonian Flag was considered the most beautiful flag in the world, last February.

The ones that know something about Macedonia, have usually heard only of the name dispute with Greece, which is blocking Macedonia’s membership in the EU and NATO. Many institutions and countries still use the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as the formal name for this small state, in the middle of the Balkans. It’s a complicated dispute, but the main problems occurring now in Macedonia have nothing to do with its name.

Macedonia is ethnically divided, the two main groups are the Macedonians (64,2% of its population) and the Albanians (25,2%), but there are also Turkish (3,9%), Roma (2,7%) and Serbs (1,8%). Even its capital is divided, there is no wall but you can feel the differences and mostly, Macedonians do not go to the Albanian part of Skopje. From time to time there are clashes between the two main groups. In 2001 there was a war in Macedonia lasting almost 10 months between the Macedonian government and the Albanian National Liberation Army. Now the Republic of Macedonia, a country that I had the pleasure to live in since the beginning of 2014 during my EVS, is going through a series of demonstrations in its streets for many reasons.

Studentski Plenum, the students’ protest
At the end of 2014, an educational reform in Macedonia made students go to the streets and protest, mobilized by Studentski Plenum, a non-formal group of students. The Macedonian educational reform created an external State-supervised exam, and every student in Macedonia that wants to go to university had to take this external exam.

The new law will improve the quality of the educational system in Macedonia, according to the government, but the new external exams were seen as a government interference in the academic system. The Studentski Plenum agrees that efforts must be made to improve their educational system, but they did not agree with this supervised exam.

Mainly in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, many students have overcrowded the streets. When I first saw the photos I did not believe that was in Macedonia – during my EVS some friends told me that Macedonian people do not like their government, but they never do anything to change it. However, everything has an end, and for Macedonians their dolce far niente has ended, they are sick of having no opportunities for their future and they want to raise their voice against injustice. The Independent did an article about the horrifying dorms for students in Skopje – “Hells of residence”.
The young students, and even their professors, demand not only better conditions for their educational life but also autonomy for their universities. On February 11, they started to proclaim the faculties in Skopje as “autonomous student territories”. Many activities were organized by the students for the students, like the concert of Dubioza Kolektiv at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University during one of the days of Autonomous
Zone.

A representative of Studentski Plenum said to mladiinfo.eu that her thoughts about the success of these protests were “precisely the fact that all of it was and it still is a collective effort, a singularity of energy that had been accumulating for a long, long time in Macedonia. What is important, I think, for people to understand, is the fact that when something is wrong the logical step that follows is to fix it – not to descend in apathy as it had been the case before, especially regarding student issues, but rather, to take some action, participate in the change you want to see.”

These demonstrations achieved their goal – the Macedonian government withdrew the educational reform, and will engage students in future talks. Macedonian students cannot stop their fight for a better educational system, they also need to fight for a better future after their studies. Young Macedonians, such as all the young around the world, are a key element in their societies, they are the future of the country and governments must hear what they have to say.

Wiretaps, the Macedonian Bomb
 Lately, Macedonian people were out on the streets protesting again, this time because of revelations of wiretapping that the opposition leader Zoran Zaev, from the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), started to release in the beginning of the year.

The wiretaps, known as bomba in Macedonian, revealed many corruption scenes from the nine-year government lead by the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO – DPMNE), a Christian democratic political party described as nationalist. The fact that the VMRO – DPMNE is a Macedonian nationalist party did not prevent it from making coalitions with political parties that are representing minorities, such as the Albanians.
The current VMRO – DPMNE government has been spending a lot of money in projects using ancient Macedonian figures. Skopje 2014 has turned the Macedonian capital into the Disneyland of the Balkan’s with its classical buildings and statues. One more baroque building will be built in Skopje, replacing the iconic mall in the city center. Last April, Macedonians did a referendum in an attempt to stop this project, but only 40% of the city center’s residents voted, not enough for the referendum to be considered successful.

No one knows where the wiretaps came from, the Macedonian Secret Service (DBK) can be involved or, as the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski says, the wiretaps may have come from an unidentified foreign intelligence service. The wiretaps are illegal, but they show important conversations about many of the problems that Macedonia is currently facing: corruption, bribery, election-rigging, abuse of power, suppressing freedom of the media, violation of the Macedonian constitution, persecution of political opponents, as well as interference in the judiciary and complete disregard for the rule of law.

The European Parliament is hosting the talks between VMRO – DPMNE and SDSM, but a solution is yet to be achieved. The SDSM have been boycotting the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia since the last general elections in April 2014. On 5th of May, Macedonians, including Studentski Plenum, Albanians and other minorities, made an anti-government protest, after the SDSM published another wiretapped conversation where alleged officials tried to cover up the murder of a young man in 2011.
The Macedonian Interior Minister said that 30 people were arrested and that 38 police officers and one civilian were injured during the first day of the protests in front of the government headquarters. NGOs said that Macedonian police used excessive force, tear gas, water cannons and stun grenades to disperse the protesters.

The second day of protest was calmer and was held in front of the Parliament. Protesters were shouting slogans to police officers such as “You should protect us”, but the protesters were the ones that at some point made a cordon to protect the police officers from a group that threw bottles at them.

Former ambassadors to Macedonia showed their sympathy with the protest on Twitter: “No stone palace, no matter how thick the walls, will protect those hiding inside, who have lost all credibility and legitimacy to remain in government, from the will of the people. It’s high time for change,” former EU ambassador Erwan Fouere; the former Dutch ambassador Simone Filippini wrote “Time for change in Macedonia. With positive governance and responsible leadership the country could flourish in no time.”

From Moscow there was a completely different message however – one blaming the protesters, as they were, in their point of view, an attempt from Western countries to cause a “coloured revolution” that can provoke more ethnic tensions in Macedonia.
Kumanovo attack, a revival of THE ethnic clashes

Two days after the demonstrations in Skopje, a police operation was held in Kumanovo, a Macedonian city close to the Serbian border. The National Liberation Army claims it was behind the Kumanovo attack. The Prime Minister Gruevski said that a terrorist group has entered Macedonia from one of the neighboring countries with the aim of attacking government and civilian facilities, and also to commit mass murders, and that the group is connected with the last attack in Gosince. He also said that some of the members fought in Syria.

The Kumanovo attack reminded Macedonia and their neighboring countries of the ethnic tensions existing in the Balkans, especially in the Kumanovo region that was the front line of the war in 2001. Kosovo and Albania condemned the violence, while Serbia sent troops to secure its border with Macedonia. On Monday, Kosovo also reinforced the control of the border with Macedonia – part of the terrorists were Kosovan citizens.

Many organizations, such as the EU and OECD, and political parties, including the Albanian coalition party of the government, called on Macedonian citizens and institutions to remain calm in order to avoid an escalation of tensions between different Macedonian ethnic groups.

Russia called for a wide and constructive dialogue between all parts in Macedonia, in order to maintain regional security, urging the OECD to be a mediator. Similar words arrived from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg “It is important that all political and community leaders work together to restore calm and conduct a transparent investigation to establish what happened. I urge everyone to exercise restraint and avoid any further escalation, in the interest of the country and the whole region”.

The President of Macedonia Gjorge Ivanov was in Moscow during the Kumanovo attack but had to leave in order to hold the Security Council on Sunday, when the police operation ended. The terrorist group was fully eliminated as the reports said. Eight policemen and 14 members of the armed group died, 37 policemen were wounded and 30 persons of the armed group were handed over to the police during the Kumanovo operation.

The EU delegation to Macedonia canceled the Europe Day reception on the 11 of May, because of the Day of Mourning declared by the Macedonian Government for the police killed in the attack. On Sunday, the Skopje Marathon was also cancelled due the security situation in Macedonia.

Some observers and the SDSM suspect that the police operation was to distract Macedonians from the current crisis that the country is going through. The same opinion is shared by a resident in Kumanovo that told the Turkish Hürriyet Daily News: “this is pure manipulation, this is a stunt by Gruevski to cover up Zaev’s revelations”. Before this operation, the SDSM had announced a mass demonstration on 17 of May, but now it is unclear if the protest will be held, because the Government can declare a state of emergency due to the latest events. No politician is safe in Macedonia, a recent a video tape posted on YouTube shows the opposition SDSM leader Zoran Zaev asking for a EUR 200,000 bribe. The VMRO – DPMNE, that will also make a mass rally next Monday, already asked the judicial bodies to launch one more procedure against Zaev.

The government and the opposition need to reach an agreement. The Parliament boycott is not less democratic than the authoritarianism of the Macedonian government. The situation of the wiretaps needs to be investigated and conclusions need to be reached. The two ministers and the Intelligence Chief involved in the wiretaps already resigned, but this is not enough to bring a fresh air to Macedonian Government. The European Parliament, as a mediator in this situation, can and must make more efforts to help Macedonia in order to not let democracy die. Macedonia is facing important problems that need to be solved soon, during the years, the name issue was a distraction to all of these problems, but now there is no more time to waste. As the former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said last week the name issue is “one of the craziest international discussions of all time”.

I share the same opinion as the Macedonian writer for OneEurope, Ivana Dushkova: “these attacks will only strengthen the relationship between Macedonians and Albanians. The people recognize that this is a politically created  scenario”. Macedonians have been through a lot in their lives, but it is time to leave the ethnic differences aside and to build a better country together. More and more injustices are brought to light, and Macedonians are determined to end them, that is why they are still in the streets protesting together. They know that they deserve a better future than the one that they are living in right now, but if ethnic violence escalates, it may bring more conflicts to the fragile region of the Balkans.

 

(*) first published in 0neEurope

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Iceland’s Historic(al) Elections

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The morning of September, 26 was a good one for Lenya Run Karim of the Pirate Party. Once the preliminary results were announced, things were clear: the 21-year-old law student of the University of Iceland, originating from a Kurdish immigrant family, had become the youngest MP in the country’s history.

In historical significance, however, this event was second to another. Iceland, the world champion in terms of gender equality, became the first country in Europe to have more women MPs than men, 33 versus 30. The news immediately made world headlines: only five countries in the world have achieved such impressive results. Remarkably, all are non-European: Rwanda, Nicaragua and Cuba have a majority of women in parliament, while Mexico and the UAE have an equal number of male and female MPs.

Nine hours later, news agencies around the world had to edit their headlines. The recount in the Northwest constituency affected the outcome across the country to delay the ‘triumph for women’ for another four years.

Small numbers, big changes

The Icelandic electoral system is designed so that 54 out of the 63 seats in the Althingi, the national parliament, are primary or constituency seats, while another nine are equalization seats. Only parties passing the 5 per cent threshold are allowed to distribute equalisation seats that go to the candidates who failed to win constituency mandates and received the most votes in their constituency. However, the number of equalisation mandates in each of the 6 constituencies is legislated. In theory, this could lead to a situation in which the leading party candidate in one constituency may simply lack an equalisation mandate, so the leading candidate of the same party—but in another constituency—receives it.

This is what happened this year. Because of a difference of only ten votes between the Reform Party and the Pirate Party, both vying for the only equalisation mandate in the Northwest, the constituency’s electoral commission announced a recount on its own initiative. There were also questions concerning the counting procedure as such: the ballots were not sealed but simply locked in a Borgarnes hotel room. The updated results hardly affected the distribution of seats between the parties, bringing in five new MPs, none of whom were women, with the 21-year-old Lenya Run Karim replaced by her 52-year-old party colleague.

In the afternoon of September, 27, at the request of the Left-Green Movement, supported by the Independence Party, the Pirates and the Reform Party, the commission in the South announced a recount of their own—the difference between the Left-Greens and the Centrists was only seven votes. There was no ‘domino effect’, as in the case of the Northwest, as the five-hour recount showed the same result. Recounts in other districts are unlikely, nor is it likely that Althingi—vested with the power to declare the elections valid—would invalidate the results in the Northwest. Nevertheless, the ‘replaced’ candidates have already announced their intention to appeal against the results, citing violations of ballot storage procedures. Under the Icelandic law, this is quite enough to invalidate the results and call a re-election in the Northwest, as the Supreme Court of Iceland invalidated the Constitutional Council elections due to a breach of procedure 10 years ago. Be that as it may, the current score remains 33:30, in favor of men.

Progressives’ progress and threshold for socialists

On the whole, there were no surprises: the provisional allocation of mandates resembles, if with minor changes, the opinion polls on the eve of the election.

The ruling three-party coalition has rejuvenated its position, winning 37 out of the 63 Althingi seats. The centrist Progressive Party saw a real electoral triumph, improving its 2017 result by five seats. Prime-minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir’s Left-Green Movement, albeit with a slight loss, won eight seats, surpassing all pre-election expectations. Although the centre-right Independence Party outperformed everyone again to win almost a quarter of all votes, 16 seats are one of the worst results of the Icelandic ‘Grand Old Party’ ever.

The results of the Social-Democrats, almost 10% versus 12.1% in 2017, and of the Pirates, 8.6% versus 9.2%, have deteriorated. Support for the Centre Party of Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, former prime-minister and victim of the Panama Papers, has halved from 10.9% to 5.4%. The centrists have seen a steady decline in recent years, largely due to a sexist scandal involving party MPs. The populist People’s Party and the pro-European Reform Party have seen gains of 8.8% and 8.3%, as compared to 6.9% and 6.7% in the previous elections.

Of the leading Icelandic parties, only the Socialist Party failed to pass the 5 per cent threshold: despite a rating above 7% in August, the Socialists received only 4.1% of the vote.

Coronavirus, climate & economy

Healthcare and the fight against COVID-19 was, expectedly, on top of the agenda of the elections: 72% of voters ranked it as the defining issue, according to a Fréttablaðið poll. Thanks to swift and stringent measures, the Icelandic government brought the coronavirus under control from day one, and the country has enjoyed one of the lowest infection rates in the world for most of the time. At the same time, the pandemic exposed a number of problems in the national healthcare system: staff shortages, low salaries and long waiting lists for emergency surgery.

Climate change, which Icelanders are already experiencing, was an equally important topic. This summer, the temperature has not dropped below 20°C for 59 days, an anomaly for a North-Atlantic island. However, Icelanders’ concerns never converted into increased support for the four left-leaning parties advocating greater reductions in CO2 emission than the country has committed to under the Paris Agreement: their combined result fell by 0.5%.

The economy and employment were also among the main issues in this election. The pandemic has severely damaged the island nation’s economy, which is heavily tourism-reliant—perhaps, unsurprisingly, many Icelanders are in favor of reviving the tourism sector as well as diversifying the economy further.

The EU membership, by far a ‘traditional’ issue in Icelandic politics, is unlikely to be featured on the agenda of the newly-elected parliament as the combined result of the Eurosceptics, despite a loss of 4%, still exceeds half of the overall votes. The new Althingi will probably face the issue of constitutional reform once again, which is only becoming more topical in the light of the pandemic and the equalization mandates story.

New (old) government?

The parties are to negotiate coalition formation. The most likely scenario now is that the ruling coalition of the Independence Party, the Left-Greens and the Progressives continues. It has been the most ideologically diverse and the first three-party coalition in Iceland’s history to last a full term. A successful fight against the pandemic has only strengthened its positions and helped it secure additional votes. Independence Party leader and finance minister Bjarni Benediktsson has earlier said he would be prepared to keep the ruling coalition if it holds the majority. President Guðni Jóhannesson announced immediately after the elections that he would confirm the mandate of the ruling coalition to form a new government if the three parties could strike a deal.

Other developments are possible but unlikely. Should the Left-Greens decide to leave the coalition, they could be replaced by the Reform Party or the People’s Party, while any coalition without the Independence Party can only be a four-party or larger coalition.

Who will become the new prime-minister still remains to be seen—but if the ruling coalition remains in place, the current prime-minister and leader of the Left-Greens, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, stands a good chance of keeping her post: she is still the most popular politician in Iceland with a 40 per cent approval rate.

The 2021 Althingi election, with one of the lowest turnouts in history at 80.1%, has not produced a clear winner. The election results reflect a Europe-wide trend in which traditional “major” parties are losing support. The electorate is fragmenting and their votes are pulled by smaller new parties. The coronavirus pandemic has only reinforced this trend.

The 2021 campaign did not foreshadow a sensation. Although Iceland has not become the first European country with a women’s majority in parliament, these elections will certainly go down in history as a test of Icelanders’ trust to their own democracy.

From our partner RIAC

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EU-Balkan Summit: No Set Timeframe for Western Balkans Accession

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From left to right: Janez JANŠA (Prime Minister, Slovenia), Charles MICHEL (President of the European Council), Ursula VON DER LEYEN (President of the European Commission) Copyright: European Union

On October 6, Slovenia hosted a summit between the EU and the Western Balkans states. The EU-27 met with their counterparts (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Kosovo) in the sumptuous Renaissance setting of Brdo Castle, 30 kilometers north of the capital, Ljubljana. Despite calls from a minority of heads of state and government, there were no sign of a breakthrough on the sensitive issue of enlargement. The accession of these countries to the European Union is still not unanimous among the 27 EU member states.

During her final tour of the Balkans three weeks ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that the peninsula’s integration was of “geostrategic” importance. On the eve of the summit, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz backed Slovenia’s goal of integrating this zone’s countries into the EU by 2030.

However, the unanimity required to begin the hard negotiations is still a long way off, even for the most advanced countries in the accession process, Albania and North Macedonia. Bulgaria, which is already a member of the EU, is opposing North Macedonia’s admission due to linguistic and cultural differences. Since Yugoslavia’s demise, Sofia has rejected the concept of Macedonian language, insisting that it is a Bulgarian dialect, and has condemned the artificial construction of a distinct national identity.

Other countries’ reluctance to join quickly is of a different nature. France and the Netherlands believe that previous enlargements (Bulgaria and Romania in 2007) have resulted in changes that must first be digested before the next round of enlargement. The EU-27 also demand that all necessary prior guarantees be provided regarding the independence of the judiciary and the fight against corruption in these countries. Despite the fact that press freedom is a requirement for membership, the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urged the EU to make “support for investigative and professional journalism” a key issue at the summit.”

While the EU-27 have not met since June, the topic of Western Balkans integration is competing with other top priorities in the run-up to France’s presidency of the EU in the first half of 2022. On the eve of the summit, a working dinner will be held, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, called for “a strategic discussion on the role of the Union on the international scene” in his letter of invitation to the EU-Balkans Summit, citing “recent developments in Afghanistan,” the announcement of the AUKUS pact between the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, which has enraged Paris.

The Western Balkans remain the focal point of an international game of influence in which the Europeans seek to maintain their dominance. As a result, the importance of reaffirming a “European perspective” at the summit was not an overstatement. Faced with the more frequent incursion of China, Russia, and Turkey in that European region, the EU has pledged a 30 billion euro Economic and Investment Plan for 2021-2027, as well as increased cooperation, particularly to deal with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Opening the borders, however, is out of the question. In the absence of progress on this issue, Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia have decided to establish their own zone of free movement (The Balkans are Open”) beginning January 1, 2023. “We are starting today to do in the region what we will do tomorrow in the EU,” said Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama when the agreement was signed last July.

This initiative, launched in 2019 under the name “Mini-Schengen” and based on a 1990s idea, does not have the support of the entire peninsular region, which remains deeply divided over this project. While Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro are not refusing to be a part of it and are open to discussions, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, who took office in 2020, for his part accuses Serbia of relying on this project to recreate “a fourth Yugoslavia”

Tensions between Balkan countries continue to be an impediment to European integration. The issue of movement between Kosovo and Serbia has been a source of concern since the end of September. Two weeks of escalation followed Kosovo’s decision to prohibit cars with Serbian license plates from entering its territory, in response to Serbia’s long-standing prohibition on allowing vehicles to pass in the opposite direction.

In response to the mobilization of Kosovar police to block the road, Serbs in Kosovo blocked roads to their towns and villages, and Serbia deployed tanks and the air force near the border. On Sunday, October 3, the conflict seemed to be over, and the roads were reopened. However, the tone had been set three days before the EU-Balkans summit.

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German Election: Ramifications for the US Foreign Policy

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Image source: twitter @OlafScholz

In the recent German election, foreign policy was scarcely an issue. But Germany is an important element in the US foreign policy. There is a number of cases where Germany and the US can cooperate, but all of these dynamics are going to change very soon.

The Germans’ strategic culture makes it hard to be aligned perfectly with the US and disagreements can easily damage the relations. After the tension between the two countries over the Iraq war, in 2003, Henry Kissinger said that he could not imagine the relations between Germany and the US could be aggravated so quickly, so easily, which might end up being the “permanent temptation of German politics”. For a long time, the US used to provide security for Germany during the Cold War and beyond, so, several generations are used to take peace for granted. But recently, there is a growing demand on them to carry more burden, not just for their own security, but for international peace and stability. This demand was not well-received in Berlin.

Then, the environment around Germany changed and new threats loomed up in front of them. The great powers’ competition became the main theme in international relations. Still, Germany was not and is not ready for shouldering more responsibility. Politicians know this very well. Ursula von der Leyen, who was German defense minister, asked terms like “nuclear weapons” and “deterrence” be removed from her speeches.

Although on paper, all major parties appreciate the importance of Germany’s relations with the US, the Greens and SPD ask for a reset in the relations. The Greens insist on the European way in transatlantic relations and SPD seeks more multilateralism. Therefore, alignment may be harder to maintain in the future. However, If the tensions between the US and China heat up to melting degrees, then external pressure can overrule the internal pressure and Germany may accede to its transatlantic partners, just like when Helmut Schmid let NATO install medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe after the Soviet Union attacked Afghanistan and the Cold War heated up.

According to the election results, now three coalitions are possible: grand coalition with CDU/CSU and SPD, traffic lights coalition with SPD, FDP, and Greens, Jamaica coalition with CDU/CSU, FDP, and Greens. Jamaica coalition will more likely form the most favorable government for the US because it has both CDU and FDP, and traffic lights will be the least favorite as it has SPD. The grand coalition can maintain the status quo at best, because contrary to the current government, SPD will dominate CDU.

To understand nuances, we need to go over security issues to see how these coalitions will react to them. As far as Russia is concerned, none of them will recognize the annexation of Crimea and they all support related sanctions. However, if tensions heat up, any coalition government with SPD will be less likely assertive. On the other hand, as the Greens stress the importance of European values like democracy and human rights, they tend to be more assertive if the US formulates its foreign policy by these common values and describe US-China rivalry as a clash between democracy and authoritarianism. Moreover, the Greens disapprove of the Nordstream project, of course not for its geopolitics. FDP has also sided against it for a different reason. So, the US must follow closely the negotiations which have already started between anti-Russian smaller parties versus major parties.

For relations with China, pro-business FDP is less assertive. They are seeking for developing EU-China relations and deepening economic ties and civil society relations. While CDU/CSU and Greens see China as a competitor, partner, and systemic rival, SPD and FDP have still hopes that they can bring change through the exchange. Thus, the US might have bigger problems with the traffic lights coalition than the Jamaica coalition in this regard.

As for NATO and its 2 percent of GDP, the division is wider. CDU/CSU and FDP are the only parties who support it. So, in the next government, it might be harder to persuade them to pay more. Finally, for nuclear participation, the situation is the same. CDU/CSU is the only party that argues for it. This makes it an alarming situation because the next government has to decide on replacing Germany’s tornados until 2024, otherwise Germany will drop out of the NATO nuclear participation.

The below table gives a brief review of these three coalitions. 1 indicates the lowest level of favoritism and 3 indicates the highest level of favoritism. As it shows, the most anti-Russia coalition is Jamaica, while the most anti-China coalition is Trafic light. Meanwhile, Grand Coalition is the most pro-NATO coalition. If the US adopts a more normative foreign policy against China and Russia, then the Greens and FDP will be more assertive in their anti-Russian and anti-Chinese policies and Germany will align more firmly with the US if traffic light or Jamaica coalition rise to power.

Issues CoalitionsTrafic LightGrand CoalitionJamaica
Russia213 
China312 
NATO132 

1 indicates the lowest level of favoritism. 3 indicates the highest level of favoritism.

In conclusion, this election should not make Americans any happier. The US has already been frustrated with the current government led by Angela Merkel who gave Germany’s trade with China the first priority, and now that the left-wing will have more say in any imaginable coalition in the future, the Americans should become less pleased. But, still, there are hopes that Germany can be a partner for the US in great power competition if the US could articulate its foreign policy with common values, like democracy and human rights. More normative foreign policy can make a reliable partner out of Germany. Foreign policy rarely became a topic in this election, but observers should expect many ramifications for it.

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