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 an association between 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 — and 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, this coalition became mathematically possible and was initially discussed.[citation needed] Because of significant differences between the platforms of the Greens and the other parties, its plausibility was up for debate. FDP leaders had stated that they would rather remain in opposition than form a coalition with the SPD or the Greens; outgoing Green leader Joschka Fischer also dismissed the possibility:

"Can you really see Angela Merkel and Edmund Stoiber sitting round the table in dreadlocks? This is more our style. It's impossible."[1]

On 10 October 2005, officials[who?] indicated that negotiations between the SPD and CDU/CSU had been successful and a grand coalition would be formed, in which Merkel would be Chancellor but the SPD would have the majority of posts in the government. The Green party was not included, which shelved the idea of a Jamaica coalition at that time.[citation needed]

In October 2009, the Greens announced that they would support a government led by the CDU, in coalition with the FDP, in Saarland, forming Germany's first, highly experimental, 'Jamaica coalition'. This move was partly prompted by desire to prevent an SPD minority government in Saarland dependent upon support from Die Linke. The coalition collapsed in January 2012.

Black traffic light[edit]

The expression Black traffic light (German: Schwarze Ampel or the portmanteau word Schwampel) refers 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 and Bremen. 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. 

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