This book chapter provides an analysis of cabinet formation after the German election of 22 September 2013. It starts with the observation that the election of 2013 brought a radical change to the German postwar party system as the FDP disappeared from the Bundestag. Given the likely need for more coalitions across the traditional divide between centre-left and centre-right (for example, grand coalitions of CDU/CSU and SPD or new coalitions between CDU/CSU and Greens), the chapter focuses on mechanisms of conflict management. Based on the comparative literature on the issue, he analyses coalition governance in the new grand coalition under Merkel. After the traditional bargaining between party elites, the SPD conducted a vote of all party members for the ratification of the bargaining result. This was an insurance policy for the party leadership vis-à-vis its rank and file, a reassurance for the CDU/CSU that the SPD was really committed to the new coalition, and a relatively successful bargaining tactic on the part of the SPD as it lent credibility to the various 'red lines' formulated by the SPD prior to the negotiations. One key aspect of coalition governance was the allocation of portfolios. Both parties secured control of those ministries whose jurisdictions were crucial to their attempts to claim issue ownership vis-à-vis core voters. After some initial support for the grand coalition, the negotiations were accompanied by growing public scepticism. One key point was that the legislative strength of the new coalition would be overwhelming (with around 80 per cent of the seats in the Bundestag), and that the two opposition parties, the Greens and the Left Party, would be too weak to mount a sustained and effective parliamentary opposition. In addition, media commentators missed the ‘big projects’ which the new government, Merkel III, would tackle. However, the deal the parties agreed on in 2013 seemed more like a package of small, if socially costly, policy measures reminiscent of the collective result of log-rolling. It is also argued that the new coalition is in a precarious situation. Whether it will last its entire term (until 2017) will depend on a number of factors, especially any 'exogenous shocks' that it may be subjected to. In particular, however, it will depend on the parties' constant evaluation of the electoral risks arising from the coalition.
This introduction to the edited volume "Germany After the 2013 Elections: Breaking the Mould of German Politics?" provides a brief factual account of the election and its result. This part is followed by a summary and contextualisation of the individual contributions to this volume.
Serbia’s decade of the 1990s was characterised by a long-lasting economic and political crisis. Throughout this period there was a constant decline in agricultural production, throughout Serbia. This downturn was more pronounced in the rural areas around Belgrade [Beograd]. Conventional urbanisation processes played only a supporting role in that development. The key force of the agricultural decline has to be seen in the economic crisis, in conjunction with the agricultural specialisation of this region. Results of this study on crop production (comparing 1991 with 2002 data) show that in the studied area subsistence farming gained significant importance; whereas simultaneously market-oriented production declined significantly. Furthermore, small-scale analyses of this study reveal results of structural changes, apart from the general outcome of rising subsistence. Concentration or specialisation on certain crops in few locations allowed still a high level of market-oriented production, even under these long-lasting crisis conditions.
This paper analyses the Serbian socio-economic spatial differentiation via a purely quantitative approach. In Serbia, huge development disparities between north and south, urban and rural as well as central and peripheral areas are obvious. Getting to the bottom of these spatial differences is one of the fundamental scientific and planning challenges of the region. This question of unevenly distributed living conditions is examined on the basis of factor analyses of secondary statistical data of the Serbian municipalities. The intention thereby was to identify the distribution of regional or spatial inequality by correlating an amount of 25 reliable variables. Combining the spheres of population structure, economy, employment, infrastructure, pre-school education and medical care an overall Index of Socio-economic Pressure is proposed to detect patterns of regional development on the Serbian territory.
Bias Volume 18 is a book that is dedicated to critically unpack the meaning of the call to re-write the Bible made by the first President of Zimbabwe, Canaan S. Banana in 1991. In this book, the author engages with Banana’s written works and makes critical observations regarding the call to re-write the Bible. This book argues that re-writing was proposed as a means to an end by Banana. It is demonstrated that what Banana intended was eradicating injustice, violence and inequality in the Middle East which was fuelled by the “ideology of chosenness”, which was sustained by a use of the Bible. Once it became clear the end was not re-writing the Bible, this work moved on to consider alternative means to achieving the same end. The search for alternatives leads the author to consider “the way of Europe”, that is, de-biblification or a watered down de-biblification, which is named partial de-biblification in this work. Finally, the author proposes a “critical biblification” as a viable alternative to re-writing or de-biblification. This book, in honour of Banana, calls for socially and contextually relevant biblical studies.