Is the end nigh for the weakest politician in Europe? I mean Angela Merkel, see my post of 17 November, who might be up for an early bath, to use a footballing analogy. Her party's coalition negotiations have broken down. The FDP, free market liberals who, with their 80 seats, are necessary partners for Merkel's CDU to govern effectively, have pulled out of talks, saying there is "no basis of trust" and "no shared vision". The disagreements are thought to have concerned tax, asylum and environmental policies (remember that Germany is a climate change denier by action, rather than words).
The CDU may try to operate with the support of the Greens as a minority government. But if there is an impasse the German President (no, I didn't know they had one either but I suppose I would have guessed) has the power to call new elections. But only after a process I don't understand but which could take months. In that case, Merkel's party aren't sure about her fighting on and might ask her to stand aside.
This all may not come to pass. But it holds out the remarkable prospect that Theresa May could outlive Angela Merkel, in political terms. I must admit I wouldn't have bet a bean on that even last week, but I am regretting not placing a bet on it as I would have thought you could have got long odds on that before the German elections!
The UK is not the only EU member state living with uncertainty and trying to work with the hand their electorate dealt them in a general election. "Crisis" is a word now being used in Germany. The main beneficiaries of any new election there are likely to be the far-right AFD....
Germany's Merkel suffers blow as FDP pulls out of coalition talks, BBC website today, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-42047532