Yesterday was the big German parliamentary decision on aid for Cyprus, and the burning question was whether Chancellor Angela Merkel would hold her coalition together or, as in past Bundestag crisis-management moments, rely on opposition votes to pass the package.
The tally is in: Merkel’s Christian Democratic/Free Democratic coalition delivered 320 votes, a comfortable absolute majority.
Oops, that was the grimly determined Merkel marshalling her forces to reject quotas for women on corporate boards. When it came to Cyprus, the iron-ish chancellor didn’t quite impose her will, mustering only 303 votes from the coalition parties, eight short of a majority. The Social Democrats and Greens put the Cypriot loans over the top.
Merkel is running for a third term in September and has her vulnerabilities, as shown by the rumblings inside her coalition and the challenge from the upstart anti-euro Alternative fur Deutschland party. But like the otherwise very dissimilar Margaret Thatcher, the German leader is blessed with an ineffectual opposition, or even a downright accommodating one.