Political Consensus

Gerhard Schröder was chancellor of the red-green – Social Democrats plus Green Party – government from 1998 til 2002, and then after reelection from 2002 til 2005. In his first term the Social Democrats and the Greens had a majority in the Bundesrat, the Upper House, where the sixteen German states are represented to co-decide with the federal government on national policy. The Schröder government had little difficulty passing the legislation they had proposed during the election campaign.

In 2002 the situation began to change, however. Federal elections led to another majority for the Social Democrats and the Greens. But at the state level they lost their majority within a few years. The opposition – Christian Democrats and Free Democrats – had gained the majority in the Bundesrat and were able to block legislation proposed by the Schröder government.

Nonetheless, Schröder‘s coalition was able time and again to craft legislation in a way which served the interests of those state governments led by opposition parties. His government was able to compromise and collaborate with those critical German states led by the Christian Democrats and Free Democrats.