HomeElections leave Germany in limbo – Politico

Elections leave Germany in limbo – Politico

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BERLIN – Looks like Germany won’t say that See you soon For Angela Merkel for a while now.

The The country’s general elections On Sunday, the two dominant political camps – the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the conservative coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) – left only 1.6 percentage points. It was indicative of a protracted coalition-building process that will likely leave Merkel in charge, on a caretaker basis, during the fall, if not longer.

About the only thing one can say for sure now is that a post-Merkel Germany will remain on a staunchly pro-EU transatlantic path, with moderate parties continuing to lead Europe’s most populous country. With neither of the two major parties garnering more than a quarter of the vote, their traditional dominance of governing coalitions seems certain to end.

Rather than the kind of two-party alliance that dominated Germany’s post-war politics, the country would almost certainly be governed by a diverse coalition of three parties.

As of early Monday morning, Akbar remained unknown who would be responsible.

The leaders of both the Social Democratic Party and the CDU/CSU demanded that Merkel be accompanied. SPD is slightly ahead, at 25.7 percent, ahead of CDU/CSU at 24.1 percent, according to a preliminary principle. Official numbers.

Both camps, who have ruled together for 12 of the past 16 years and pledged to end their collaboration, said they would try to form a coalition with the third and fourth parties, the Greens and the pro-business Liberal Democrats, which finished 14.8 percent and 11.5 percent respectively.

It was already clear on Sunday that the CDU, led by party leader and chancellor-candidate Armin Laschet, was on course to achieve its worst result since World War II. Laschet, who did not bow, said he wanted to build a coalition “from the center of the Bundestag,” the German parliament.

“We will do everything in our power to form a federal government under the leadership of the CDU/CSU, because Germany now needs an alliance for the future that will modernize Germany,” he said in remarks at the party headquarters in Berlin as the masked Merkel. , who made one last attempt at Laschet in the final days of the campaign, stood by him.

Schulz sees delegation

His main rival, the SPD candidate, Olaf Schulz, Germany’s finance minister, made his own claim to the Chancellery. He said voters showed a clear preference for his party, which led him out of the doldrums at the start of the campaign, when he was third in opinion polls at just 15 percent, to an apparent victory.

“I think we can infer from the result that we have a mandate to say we want to form the next government,” Schultz said. “Citizens want change.”

What kind of change was hard to discern from Sunday’s early returns. It seems that both the Green Party and the FDP are destined to join the upcoming coalition. The main question: Will they unite with the center-right or the center-left?

The Social Democrats seem to have the upper hand. Not only did they take first place, but they also came from behind, improving by more than 5 percentage points at their end of 2017. By comparison, the CDU and its Bavarian partner, the CSU, who together won about 33 percent in the last election, collapsed.

Moreover, Schulz, who was mayor of Hamburg before becoming finance minister and vice-chancellor in 2017, is more popular than Laschet. Nearly half of SPD voters said he wouldn’t have voted for the party if he wasn’t a candidate for party chairperson, according to Exit survey data. For CDU and Laschet, this was the case for just 10% of voters.

However, under the German political system, These considerations are largely irrelevant. Unlike many other European countries, parties do not need authorization from the head of state to try to build an alliance, a click that usually goes to the party that finishes first. Instead, it is up to the parties themselves to take the lead and form the government.

There are plenty of precedents in post-war politics in Germany for the Runners-up to end up taking over the government. In 1969, the Conservatives finished the election about 3.5 percentage points ahead of the SPD. But Willy Brandt, the SPD candidate, was still able to forge a coalition with the FDP.

There was a similar result in 1976, when CDU/CSU candidate Helmut Kohl led his party to first place with a stunning 48.6 percent result today. However, the ruling coalition at the time between the SPD and the FDP together had more than 50 percent, which was seen as a vote of confidence in their leadership. However, the SPD itself won only 42.6 percent of the vote.

The options are open

With neither big party able to demand a clear mandate this time around, it will be up to their negotiating leaders, as they seek to persuade the two smaller parties to join them. Conversely, the heads of the FDP and the Green Party, who have sharply contrasting views on many issues, can band together to decide which of the two major parties they want to rule with.

On Sunday evening, neither side was prepared to say more than they kept their options open.

Robert Habeck, the co-leader of the Greens, who for years negotiated a three-way partnership with the CDU and the Freedom and Development Party in his home state of Schleswig-Holstein, has spoken vulgarly on several talk shows, saying he wanted an alliance that “was up to the task of dealing with the challenges ahead.”

He said that while many in his party base would have preferred a two-way association with the SPD, the need for a three-way alliance completely changed the calculus. “There is no clear preference for voters, so it will depend on the parties reaching an agreement,” he said.

Whatever group comes next, the Greens will not deviate from their insistence that fighting climate change must be high on the political agenda, said Annalena Birbock, the party’s candidate and co-leader alongside Habek.

Paving the way for the country to become climate-neutral in the next 20 years will be the next government’s greatest challenge,” said Burbock, who led her party to its best result in a federal election.

And vowed not to pressure the Greens in the upcoming negotiations. In addition to tougher climate policies, she said her party will insist on making social justice and youth issues a priority for the next government.

“Politics is not a market,” she said.

While the Greens were counted as the big winner in the election — the party improved its 2017 results by about 6 percentage points — many members of the environmental movement were hoping for more, especially after the party rose in opinion polls early in the campaign to 25 percent.

Barbock took responsibility for the Greens’ return to Earth, citing personal mistakes she made during the campaign. That missed promise didn’t dampen the Green Party’s post-election celebration in Berlin, where party believers welcomed their radiant leader husband. The party seemed particularly supportive of him strong position Among younger voters, reinforcing its claim that it is the party of the future.

The Liberal Democrats’ second chance

The Liberal Democrats posted only a slight gain compared to their 2017 results, adding just under a percentage point, according to expectations. However, the party, which is also popular with young voters, hailed the result as an important victory, not least because it ensured that the FDP would once again be at the center of coalition talks.

The party was in a similar situation in 2017, but it didn’t do well for free-market liberals. After negotiating a tripartite alliance with Merkel and the Greens for a month, the FDP leader Christian Lindner pulled the plug In the talks, CDU/CSU was left with no choice but to seek to incubate SPD, a partnership that many believed was past its expiration date.

Lindner, who was battered in the media and polls in the aftermath of the move (he justified it by saying that Merkel would not make enough concessions in the direction of the FDP) could not afford to be a deal killer a second time.

He reiterated his preference for a CDU-led government on Sunday, saying the two parties had “the most in common”. However, he also insisted that it was too early to start making serious decisions about which path to take.

“We are now very independent, having established ourselves as a two-digit party, and we will exercise that independence in building a centrist coalition,” Lindner said.

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party won 10.3 percent of the vote, losing more than two percentage points compared to 2017. Both the CDU and the SPD have ruled out cooperation with the anti-immigration party, whose leadership has been in disarray. . In recent years, in any alliance.

The Left Party, which traces its roots to the East German Communist Party, received 4.9 percent of the vote. Even if the aberration in the rules allowed the party to have deputies despite failing to reach 5 per cent, it would have only 39 deputies, making a left-wing alliance with the SPD and the Greens highly unlikely.

Meanwhile, Merkel faces the distinct possibility of having to hand power after 16 years to the party she defeated to become chancellor.

She will also face blame from her own ranks for corrupting her succession by not engaging in the campaign with more enthusiasm.

Perhaps most frustrating for Merkel, who has spoken wistfully in the final months of a post-political life filled with books and travel, is that, in December, she may once again don a shiny silk suit to present the traditional chancellor. New Year’s title.

This article has been updated.