He also said that he will not enter a three party coalition of SPD, Greens and the left wing Die Linke. This means that he has ruled out the only likely coalition, in which he would be chancellor. Let's look at the parties and their current poll results. SZ has an excellent info graphic with five different polls.
- CDU/CSU (Union - black): the centre-right parties have been above 40 % for most of 2013. Merkel is by far the most liked politician in Germany. She will probably be chancellor for four more years. CSU is a Bavarian party, and could be considered a right wing arm of the CDU, which can be elected in the 15 other Bundesländer (states).
- SPD (red): the centre-slightly-left leaning party is the second strongest force in the political spectrum; they are currently trending at around 26-27 % (with one poll seeing them considerably worse off). Chancellor candidate Steinbrück is only preferred over Merkel by 27 % of the Germans.
- Grüne (actually Bündnis 90/Die Grünen - green [obviously]): the centre-slightly-left leaning party with a strong emphasis on sustainability and civil liberties is currently being favored by around 13 % of the electorate.
- Die Linke (purple): the left wing party reaches poll results of around 7-8 %. It was founded in 2007 in a merger of the east German PDS and former SPD members (WASG), who left the party due to the Agenda 2010.
- FDP (yellow): the liberal party is in danger of falling below the 5 % hurdle in polls. There is a chance that the party will receive "borrowed votes" from CDU voters to prevent a grand coalition (less than half of the electorate favor such a government), so it is likely that they will be in the next Bundestag.
- The Pirates: the party (currently at 3 % - orange) - concerned mostly with freedom online - will profit from Snowdens revelations. It is likely that it will attract many protest voters, so there is a considerable chance that it will be in the next Bundestag
- AfD: the liberal, euro-skeptical, newly founded party will profit from the never ending euro disaster, and might also enter the next Bundestag.
- Union/FDP: Merkel claims that she favors the current coalition. It seems rather unlikely that she really believes internally that it was a success, since constant fights between CSU and FDP, basically forced the government to stop governing in 2010 (one year in). Next to nothing has been achieved(yeah Merkel is only big on reforms - elsewhere). Still, it is quite likely that we will see four more years of this. If we believed what politicians say before elections, then it would be the only possible coalition at this time. The electorate seems to favor
- Union/SPD: no matter what politicians claim before an election, I think this is still a probable coalition. The SPD is likely scared that a grand coalition will damage their brand (which the last grand coalition did), which is already very similar to the Union's . Still, when push comes to shove, it is more likely that Steinbrück will step back, and thereby make a coalition with Merkel as chancellor possible. Another problem, that has the SPD hesitating, is that several countries within the euro area might have to get hair cuts in order to prevent a break up. It is absolutely certain that no matter if Greece stays in the euro or leaves, the country will not be able to carry on without a reduction of its debt burden. The blame might fall on the SPD.
- Union /Greens: neither the Greens nor the Union like the idea very much. Merkel called it a "figment". But there are more similarities than differences; especially after Merkel changed course in the question of nuclear power. So, even though it is not the most probable coalition it is possible.
- SPD/Greens: wishful thinking on part of both parties. Very unlikely they will have enough seats.
- SPD/Greens/Linke: this might be possible, but, big but, the SPD considers the Linke
traitors(many left the SPD) dissenters, who are not fit to govern. On state level this coalition is not unheard of. Still, this is one of the few times, where I actually believe, that politicians tell the truth. So, even if it would be a possible coalition it seems very unlikely.
- SPD/Greens/FDP: would be the stupidest idea ever.