The coalition contract between Koch's CDU and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) was approved this week by the two parties' respective state committees after a year of political upheaval ended on January 18 with a significant election victory in particular for the FDP. Under Koch's leadership, the CDU will appoint seven ministers and the FDP three.
Koch sees the clear victory for Hesse's CDU/FDP coalition as a blueprint for the general election to be held in September. “The much-talked about left-wing majority in the population does not seem to exist,” he said on Saturday, “Now we have a clear middle-class majority, and it is an example for Berlin.”
According to Koch, the speedy negotiations for the new coalition contract in Hesse, which were completed in ten days, shows that the CDU can “cleanly” work together with the FDP.
Koch's assessment of the German electorate's mood, though backed up by opinion polls, disguises the fact that his victory in Hesse was largely due to the disarray the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) were in after four of their own state MPs blocked a minority government backed by far-left party Die Linke, or The Left.
On a national level, the FDP has established itself as Germany's third biggest party in recent months, while the traditional centre-left parties such as the SPD and the Green party continue to stagnate in opinion polls.