The colourful coalitions possible from Germany’s vote

Will it be a Jamaica coalition, the traffic light, black-yellow, or perhaps even red-red-green? There's a kaleidoscope of possibilities for the outcome of Sunday's German election, where every party goes under its own colour.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is hoping to form what is commonly known in Germany as a schwarz-gelb (black-yellow) coalition between her conservative Christian Democrats (black) and the liberal Free Democrats (yellow).

However, if the recent polls are to be believed, she may yet be forced into another term of the awkward “grand coalition” (or black-red), with the “red” Social Democrats (SPD).

Depending on the results, election night could also prompt haggling over less likely – but even more colourful – coalition combinations. The red, yellow and green “traffic light,” Ampel in German, coalition coalition between the SPD, Free Democrats (FDP) and ecologist Greens has for now been excluded by FDP leader Guido Westerwelle.

The “Jamaica” (black, yellow and green) coalition – named after the Caribbean country’s national flag – has also been ruled out by the Greens.

But what Merkel fears more than anything is the “red-red-green” combination of SPD, Green and hard-line socialist party The Left. So far, the SPD leadership has said it will not enter into a coalition with The Left – a group of disaffected leftists from the SPD and former communists – at national level although they govern together at the state and municipal level.

Adding to the veritable explosion of colour in German politics are the “brown” far-right groups taking the hue of Hitler’s brown-shirted thugs. But there is also the Violets, which call for a “spiritual” brand of politics in Germany. Neither has a hope of winning a seat in parliament, according to the polls.

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