Germany: the Social Democrats win the legislative elections, the country enters a period of uncertainty

the essential The Social Democrat Olaf Scholz has been declared the winner of the German general elections. He will now have to negotiate with the conservative Armin Laschet to form an alliance with the parties.

End of the Merkel era. According to the provisional official results announced on Monday by the electoral commission, the center-left of the SPD and their leader Olaf Scholz collected 24, 7% of the vote, slightly ahead of Armin Laschet’s conservative CDU-CSU union, which has a historically low score of 14, 1%. The Conservatives had never fallen below the 30% threshold. This is a devastating setback for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s camp as she is due to retire from politics.

Germany, a pole of stability under the Merkel era, is entering a much more unpredictable phase with difficult negotiations in sight to form the next government following the legislative elections: both the Social Democrats, short-headed winners, and the conservatives claim the leadership. As of Monday morning, the leaderships of the various parties likely to enter into a future coalition will meet in Berlin and should give indications on the alliances they are considering.

Beyond that, everything remains to be done in the country. Because in Germany it is not the voters who directly elect the head of government but the deputies, once a majority has been established. The latter is this time particularly complicated to constitute because it must bring together three parties – something never seen in years 1950 – due to a crumbling of votes. “The poker game is on,” says Der Spiegel magazine. Because “after the vote, the essential questions remain open: who will be chancellor? Which coalition will govern the country in the future”, he points out.

A conclusion before Christmas

For the Social Democrats, things are clear: “what is certain is that many citizens” voted SPD because “they want a change of government and also because they want the next chancellor to be called Olaf Scholz, “said the 63 -year-old man. The problem: his center-right rival, despite a “disappointing” result, is unwilling to join the opposition benches: “We will do all we can to build a government led by the Union” CDU -CSU, assured the Christian Democrat candidate.

In Germany, discussions to form a new executive are the sole responsibility of political parties. At the end of the previous poll of 2017, the current grand coalition could not be formed until more than six months later, leading to political paralysis in Germany , especially on European issues. However, both the SPD and the center-right have said they are aiming for a conclusion before Christmas. Will they succeed? “Germany will take over the presidency of the G7 in 2022”, recalled Mr. Laschet, and this is why a new government must “come very quickly”.

In the current configuration, several solutions are possible for a majority in the Bundestag, which will have a record of 206 deputies, i.e. 137 more than four years ago according to the electoral commission. The SPD, with 206 deputies, could thus ally with the Greens, who came third in the ballot with 14, 8% (92, and the Liberals of the FDP, a right-wing party which collected , 5% (92 seats). Alternatively, it is the conservatives (137 seats) who could govern with the Greens and the FDP. According to a Yougov poll published overnight Sunday to Monday, a majority of voters favor the first option. And 30% of them believe that Olaf Scholz must become the next chancellor of Europe’s largest economy.

Kingmakers

All will therefore depend on the goodwill of two small parties, qualified Monday by the daily Bild as “kingmakers”.

FDP leader Christian Lindner also felt on Sunday that it would be “desirable” for his party and environmentalists “to discuss first among themselves” before deciding whether to ally with the conservatives or the social democrats .

For Germany’s oldest party, the coming weeks will be a test. Throughout the campaign, the Social Democrats put an end to their legendary quarrels between the left and the centrist to support their leader, the current finance minister of Angela Merkel.

But how will he react if his new “hero Olaf” has to mourn half of his program to appease the liberal right ?, asks the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. Because the FDP will never accept a tax increase for the wealthy, desired by the SPD and the Greens. And at the end of the day, the newspaper said, the formation of a coalition will be put to the vote of the members of the SPD. But in 2018, they preferred to name a duo of strangers from the left wing of the party.

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