Mutti (Mommy in English) is a common nickname we Germans use for our chancellor. It incorporates this warm, soft feeling of security and that everything will be fine since Mutti knows what she is doing. You might not really understand her reasoning, but you know that she knows what she is doing.
Why do we need a Mutti? Well, uncertainty is one of the buzzwords of our times. Globalization and new technologies, climate change and orange presidents all contribute to this constant feeling of nothing being too reliable. Hence, a strong leader heading decisively forward, seems like an all too soothing idea. Who needs the talking, the debating, the fighting, the compromising which all only add up to uncertainty?
However, German cosiness in pseudo-stable circumstances is about to come to an end. The elections in September 2017 happened, our social democrats said decisively “no” to a big coalition. There was some talk about a multi-party coalition, but the negotiations failed. Now some are mumbling about a minority government.
Now, the word minority alone is already a trigger for feelings of anxiety for many Germans in particular and people in general. Minority governments must win votes, make concessions and negotiate every single time they want to put something through. A constant struggle for the majority. Consequently, government gets weaker, parliament stronger, there will be more debate, more compromises and the general process of policy making and executing gets slower. Considering that pragmatism was one of the keywords of Merkelian power, the upcoming hyper-diverse struggle is something that Germans are simply not used anymore. Hence, the anxiety.
But can we really complain about the mere concept of minority government as much as we do right now? According to German news outlets minority government almost seems like a synonym for political apocalypse. Strikingly, common critique towards such a government – uncertain, full of talk, constant over-compromising, unpragmatic, slow – sounds very similar to a general critique of democracy. So basically, we are saying that democracy… sucks?
To be a bit drastic: a very effective and efficient type of government are dictatorships. Dictators do not have to ask and are not controlled by anybody. In the end, democracy is slow because 83 million people have naturally, vastly different views and interests. Its slowness is expression of our ideological diversity. And even if it sounds cheesy: it simply means that differing narratives matter. Do we really have no time for that?
Asena Baykal, student European Studies