Germany's complex electoral system means that coalition governments tend to be the norm in the country, and this election is no exception with three possible coalitions that could be formed after the election. The Bundestag must convene within 30 days of the vote but government formation could take up to 100 days, some analysts have said. These are the next three possible coalitions and their probability, according to Teneo Intelligence's Carsten Nickel.
Grand coalition (CDU/CSU-SPD) – 40% probability (down from 50%)
A "grand coalition" between the main parties would be a continuation of the status quo, but it would only be possible if Schulz's SPD does not get less than 23 percent of the vote (its result in 2009), Nickel said in his note. Polls currently point to the SPD getting around 22 percent, making the party the possible opposition of the future and calling into question Schulz's future. Nevertheless, another CDU-CSU-SPD coalition "would be positive for pragmatic euro zone reform" given Merkel and Schulz's pro-EU agenda.
'Jamaica' coalition (CDU/CSU-FDP-Greens) – 40% probability (up from 20%)
This coalition is currently the most likely, yet talks to finalize an alliance could take time, Nickel warned. "Talks could be prolonged and governance noisy given the two small parties' competition for the same constituency and the conflicts between CSU and the Greens on issues such as migration. Yet, an SPD result below 23 percent might make it clear already on Sunday night that all four have little choice but to meet at Merkel's home turf, the political center."
Christian-Liberal (CDU/CSU-FDP) – 20% probability (down from 30%)
As polls stand, it would be "numerically impossible," Nickel stated, for Merkel's conservative union to form a center-right coalition with just the FDP. However, "if the numbers were to add up on Sunday, the chancellor would have to opt for it." Although he believed this government would form quickly and might engage in some targeted tax cuts for the rich, it could experience some conflict over further European economic integration which the FDP is skeptical about.