German Election: Merkel’s Era Ends in a Disaster as Conservatives Suffer Worst Defeat in Post-War History
Socialist SPD stakes claim to form a coalition government; right-wing AfD makes big gains in the East.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel ended her 16-years-reign in a disaster as her Christian Conservative alliance (CDU-CSU) suffered its worst election result since World War II.
Merkel’s Christian Democrats secured a little over 24 percent of the total vote, which is the first time it hit below 30 percent in post-war history.
German weekly Der Spiegel summed up the election outcome with the headline: “The End of the Black Republic” — black being the color associated with the German Christian Conservatives.
The biggest winner of Sunday’s parliamentary vote was Merkel’s junior coalition partner, the left-wing Social Democratic Party. The socialist party narrowly became the biggest party in the German Bundestag, getting 25 percent points, five percentage points more than the 2017 election.
SPD leader, Olaf Scholz, staked the claim to form the next government. The left-wing party wants to build a government with the support of the ecological Green party and the pro-business Free Democrats, Scholz said.
“Voters have spoken very clearly,” the SPD chancellor candidate said. “They strengthened three parties — the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Free Democrats — so this is the visible mandate the citizens of this country have given: These three parties should lead the next government.”
With no party or bloc winning a clear majority, negotiations may take weeks before a governing coalition emerges.
The German public broadcaster DW News reported the election outcome:
After a long election night, the SPD appeared to have come out ahead of the conservative bloc of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU. With 25.7% percent support, it was the SPD’s first victory over the CDU since Merkel took over in 2005.
However, not only was the victory slight — the CDU reached 24.1% — it is a far cry from the results of decades past, when either of Germany’s two biggest parties easily captured over 40%.
Despite this, the SPD’s Olaf Scholz accepted the result warmly, saying “we have what it takes to govern a country.” He promised to take a stronger stance against climate change and to modernize German industry should he become leader. (…)
The SPD will have to look most likely at the business-friendly FDP and environmental Green party for coalition partners. Scholz “will really depend on what the FDP and Greens have to say,” Haase said.
Despite falling somewhat in the polls over the summer, the Green Party scored a historically strong 14.8%. Greens candidate Annalena Baerbock welcomed the result as a likely sign they will join the next German government as junior coalition partners.
The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) obtained just above 10 percent of the vote, 2 percent less than their previous election result. The party emerged as the second most potent force in the eastern region of Germany, winning the largest share of votes in the states of Thuringia and Saxony.
The far-left party, Die Linke, failed to cross the five-percent hurdle to enter the Bundestag. It may still enter the parliament with a few legislators following the German election rules.
Germany, preliminary final results:
West | East
LINKE-LEFT: 3.6%|10.0%#Bundestagswahl21 #btw21
Results live @DecisionDeskHQ: …-federal-elections.decisiondeskhq.com pic.twitter.com/eC855lvJeY
— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) September 27, 2021
As Merkel’s era comes to an end, the CDU she inherited from Helmut Kohl, the architect of German unification, has been reduced to chaos. Her most significant blunder was opening the German borders to mass migration in the autumn of 2015, resulting in a wave of migrant crime and Islamist terror attacks.
Born in Soviet-dominated East Germany (GDR), Merkel was a member of the country’s Communist Youth League (FDJ) and worked for its “Agitation and Propaganda” wing, her college peers say. While anti-communist dissidents were barred from higher education and public life, she enjoyed a comfortable career in academics. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, she joined the CDU and rose quickly through its ranks, becoming leader of the party in 2000 and German Chancellor in 2005.
[Disclaimer: the author is a member of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU)]DONATE
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