from the there-may-be-trouble-ahead dept.
The breakdown of the coalition talks last weekend has done more than dent Ms. Merkel's seeming invulnerability and raise the prospect of new elections, analysts say. Although the Social Democrats agreed on Friday to meet with the chancellor's party next week — raising hopes for, if not a coalition, then a tolerated minority government — the current situation may well signal the breakdown of Germany's postwar tradition of consensus and the dawn of a messy and potentially unnerving politics.
"The distinctive political tradition of the Federal Republic of Germany is change through consensus," said Timothy Garton Ash, a professor of European studies at the University of Oxford. That was what was at stake, he said. "It hasn't worked so far this time."
The leader of the Social Democrats has said that the party's members would have to vote on joining a coalition led by Merkel.