Monday, 25 September 2017

Flag of the Week: Jamaica

After yesterday's general election in Germany the newspapers are predicting a Jamaica coalition, an expression that must sound confusing to anyone who doesn't closely follow German politics. The reason is that each of the German political parties is assigned a colour. After yesterday's vote six parties will receive seats in the new parliament.

CDU (Black): 246
SPD (Red): 153
AFD (Blue): 94
FDP (Yellow): 80
Linke (Pink): 69
Green (Green): 67

That's a total of 709 seats. In order to rule a coalition needs 355 seats. The current government is a coalition between the CDU and the SPD, a Black-Red coalition, but the SPD has said that it refuses to enter a coalition in the next government, preferring to remain in the opposition.

It's not just a matter of balancing numbers. The political parties have different ideals, so not every combination is possible. The CDU (a centre right party) would never form a coalition with the Linke (a Communist party). The Linke is open to a coalition with the SPD (a centre left party), having already formed coalitions at state level. The FDP sees itself as a pure centrist party, and has formed coalitions with both the CDU and the SPD in the past. The Green party sees itself as left of centre and would prefer a coalition with the SPD, but it's willing to form a coalition with the CDU if compromises are accepted.

Nobody wants to form a coalition with the AFD, because they're considered to be far right.

The coalition touted by the press is CDU (246) + FDP (80) + Green (67), a Black-Yellow-Green coalition with 393 seats. Those are the colours of the Jamaican flag. Now it makes sense, doesn't it?

That's not the only possible coalition. The wildcard in the coalition negotiations is the FDP, who have frequently changed sides when their demands weren't met. In 1982 they put the CDU into power without an election by changing coalition partners mid-term. Nobody can rely on the FDP, as the large parties have learnt from experience.

The SPD could form a coalition government with SPD (153) + Linke (69) + Green (67) + FDP (80), a total of 369 seats. That's a Red-Pink-Green-Yellow coalition; are there any matching flags? This would be a preferable coalition for the Green Party, and the Linke would jump at the opportunity to enter the government. It all depends on the FDP. They have to be wooed with big promises by the large parties.

In its favour, Jamaica has one of the world's most attractive flags. It's also the most unique. With the exception of Scotland, which isn't an independent country (yet), it's the only flag that uses a diagonal cross.

This is probably my last flag of the week feature. After 10 weeks I've already featured the flags that I consider to be the most attractive, in particular Albania and Kiribati. This feature hasn't been received well by my readers. The only feedback that I've received has been negative. It's possible that I shall occasionally post pictures of other flags, but it will no longer be a regular weekly event.

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