Jamaica coalition (politics)

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Jamaica coalition (German: Jamaika-Koalition; also known as the Jamaica alliance, Jamaica traffic light, black traffic light or Schwampel) is a term in German politics describing a coalition among the parties of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), Free Democratic Party (FDP), and the Green Party.

The term refers to the coincidence that the symbolic colors of the parties in such a coalition—black for the conservative CDU/CSU, yellow for the liberal FDP, and green for the Green Party—are also the colors of the flag of Jamaica. It also alludes to the perception (from a German point of view) of such an alliance as an "exotic" constellation.


After the German federal election in 2005, a Jamaica coalition became mathematically possible and was initially discussed, but the Free Democrats decided they would rather remain in opposition than form a coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD) or the Greens.[1]

At the state level, the Greens announced in October 2009 that they would support a CDU/FDP coalition in Saarland, forming Germany's first Jamaica coalition in state government. This move was partly prompted by desire to prevent an SPD minority government in Saarland dependent upon support from Die Linke. The Saarland coalition collapsed in January 2012.[2]

A Jamaica coalition is currently in power in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. After the 2017 Schleswig-Holstein state election, CDU leader Daniel Günther became Minister President by forming a coalition with the Free Democrats led by Wolfgang Kubicki and the Greens led by Monika Heinold.[3]

A Jamaica coalition was unsuccessfully negotiated at the national level in Germany following the 2017 federal election.[4] After the SPD initially announced their return to opposition, it became the only viable coalition that didn't involve Alternative for Germany.[5] Coalition talks failed after the FDP pulled out of talks, citing an inability to find a compromise on migration and energy policy.[6]

Black traffic light[edit]

Another nickname for this coalition is black traffic light (German: Schwarze Ampel or the portmanteau word Schwampel). This term alludes to the classic traffic light coalition, an alliance between the SPD (red), FDP (yellow), and the Greens, together whose symbolic colors match the colors of most German traffic lights. In a black traffic light, the CDU's color black would replace the SPD's red. Classic traffic light coalitions have already governed at the state level in Brandenburg, Bremen and Rhineland-Palatinate. The first known appearance of the short form Schwampel was in the Tageszeitung newspaper (Bremen edition) on 4 October 1991.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harding, Luke (20 September 2005). "New election looms as Greens reject Merkel". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  2. ^ Zuvela, Matt (6 January 2012). "One-of-a-kind coalition falls apart in German state". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  3. ^ Herrmann, Gunnar (8 May 2017). "All signs point to Jamaica coalition" (in German). Süddeutsche Zeitung. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  4. ^ C, J (24 September 2017). "Germany's exit polls point to big losses for the two main parties". Berlin: The Economist. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  5. ^ Shalal, Andrea (24 September 2017). "German Social Democrats vow to rebuild in opposition after election drubbing". Berlin: Reuters. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  6. ^ Oltermann, Philip (20 November 2017). "German coalition talks collapse after deadlock on migration and energy". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 November 2017.