The problems that New Zealand is wrestling with are mirrored over in Germany. The German elections for the Bundestag is not a mandate for anyone. Angela Merkel's CDU and sister party CSU gathered 35.2% of the vote and possibly 225 seats while incumbent Gerhard Schroeder's SDP got 34.3% and maybe 221 seats.
There is talk in Germany of a grand coalition between CDU, CSU, and SDP. Truthfully in my amateur opinion this would be best solution for Germany since these three parties have 70% of the votes and hence represent a more mainstream view than various small parties like the Greens or the New Left.
The only dragon's tooth I see impeding such a grand coalition is Gerhard Schroeder himself. While he has virulently denounced America and promised domestic reforms; the economy has spluttered, unemployment has risen to 12% and that is the worse since World War II, and the Euro has lost ground to the US Dollar. Before the elections Schroeder had said if defeated he would retire from politics. At 34.3%, I would say the SDP did lose. Schroeder is now campaigning to lead such a grand coalition because he has the experience. I refer to my previous points on the German economy spluttering and high unemployment, some experience. Schroeder is placing himself before the needs of the nation, his ego before the people's needs.
I hope members in the SDP will realize that Schroeder is endangering their party and a possible working government to feed his ego. And that they tell Gerhard to go take that month's vacation as guaranteed by German law while they work out some details. Or better yet to tell him to shut up, sit down, and eat some sauerkraut. Because if they don't, then Germany will be ruled by a shaky minority coalition that will have no mandate while being held hostage by the smaller parties. And as long as Germany seems rudderless, the economy as a whole in Europe will falter. Which could breed all kinds of mischief if it goes on long enough.