Jamaica coalition (politics)

Jamaica coalition is a term in German politics describing a coalition among the parties of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union, Free Democratic Party, and the Green Party.
The term refers to the coincidence that 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—are also the colors of the flag of Jamaica. It also alludes to the perception of such an alliance as an "exotic" constellation.


After the German federal election in 2005, a Jamaica coalition became mathematically possible and was initially discussed, but the Free Democrats decided they would rather remain in opposition than form a coalition with the Social Democrats or the Greens.
At the state level, the Greens announced in October 2009 that they would support a CDU/FDP coalition in Saarland, forming Germany's first Jamaica coalition in state government. This move was partly prompted by desire to prevent an SPD minority government in Saarland dependent upon support from Die Linke. The Saarland coalition collapsed in January 2012.
A Jamaica coalition is currently in power in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. After the 2017 Schleswig-Holstein state election, CDU leader Daniel Günther became Minister President by forming a coalition with the Free Democrats led by Wolfgang Kubicki and the Greens led by Monika Heinold.
A Jamaica coalition was unsuccessfully negotiated at the national level in Germany following the 2017 federal election. After the SPD initially announced their return to opposition, it became the only viable coalition that didn't involve Alternative for Germany. Coalition talks failed after the FDP pulled out of talks, citing an inability to find a compromise on migration and energy policy.

Black traffic light

Another nickname for this coalition is black traffic light. This term alludes to the classic traffic light coalition, an alliance between the SPD, FDP, 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, Bremen and Rhineland-Palatinate. The first known appearance of the short form Schwampel was in the Tageszeitung newspaper on 4 October 1991.

Use of the term in Belgium

In Belgian politics, the term Jamaica coalition refers to a coalition of Christian democrats, liberals and greens. The term has been adopted from German politics, even though the colors of the Belgian parties in question do not correspond to those of the Jamaican flag. Even if this kind of coalition remains hypothetical on a federal, regional or provincial level, it has been formed in various municipalities, such as in Holsbeek in 2018.