Germany is in the midst of an arduous search for its next president following the election of its center-left Social Democrats narrowly beat outgoing Angela Merkel’s centrist group in a vote that did not provide the course for the world’s biggest market under its new president.
The heads of the various parties in the newly-elected parliament were meeting on Monday to discuss the results which witnessed Merkel’s Union bloc suffer its lowest-ever score in a national poll, and it appeared to place the power of the state in the control of two parties in opposition.
Both are Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, who has helped to lift his party from an eight-year slump, as well as Armin Laschet who is the candidate for Merkel’s political party, who watched his party’s fortunes plummet after a turbulent campaign, have laid claim to be in the next administration. Scholz is the deputy chancellor, finance minister and vice president. Laschet is the German governor for Germany’s largest state, North Rhine-Westphalia.
The person who is elected as chancellor, it will be in a party that has less of votes than his predecessors. Whoever is chosen to be chancellor is likely to be based on the decisions of the possible junior partners, the environmentally-minded Greens as well as the business-friendly Free Democrats as well as the Free Democrats, both parties that are traditionally part of opposing ideological camps.
“Voters have spoken very clearly,” Scholz stated on Monday. “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.”
The only alternative which could be a possibility of the benefit of a majority in parliament is a rerun of the “grand coalition” of the Union and Social Democrats. It is the alliance that has ruled Germany for the last 12 years during Merkel’s tenure of 16 years and was often plagued by disputes, but this time, it will be led by Scholz, with Merkel’s group as the junior partner. There’s not much interest in the latter, however.
Scholz stated that his Union “received the message from citizens that they should no longer be in government, but go into opposition.”
The Merkel government is set to remain in power until a successor is appointed the process can last for weeks or even months. Merkel made it clear in the year 2018 that she would not seek the fifth term.
The Greens tend to lean towards the Social Democrats and the Free Democrats towards the Union but neither side has ruled out going the other direction at the end of Sunday’s night. The Greens had significant gains during the campaign to come in third, but were far from their initial goal of winning the chancellery. On the other hand, they Free Democrats improved slightly on an impressive performance from 2017.
Julia Reuschenbach, a political analyst at the University of Bonn, told ARD on television that a Laschet-led administration “isn’t excluded in principle,” even though there is a possibility that Social Democrats will push the argument that the election results show Germans would like them to run this new government. “Ultimately, the parties will of course have to agree on matters of substance,” she added.
Final results showed those who voted for the Social Democrats 25.7 per cent of the votes and the Union 24.1 percent. In the last election they took 20.5 percent and 32.9 percent, respectively. The Union comprised part of the laschet’s Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian counterpart Christian Social Union Christian Social Union — had never before seen a poll below 31 percent in a parliamentary election of the national level.
The Greens received 14.8 percent and The Free Democrats 11.5 percent and the extreme-right Alternative for Germany 10.3 per cent , a drop from the 12.6 percent required to be elected at first in 2017. The smallest of the parties that has been elected to the parliament in this new period is that of the Left Party, which won only 4.9 percent of the votes.
The new Bundestag (also known as the lower house) of the parliament, will comprise an unprecedented 735 legislators. The size of the parliament can vary due to the peculiarity of the German electoral system, meaning that it can be much larger than the 598 seats minimum.
It was the Social Democrats took 206 seats and the Union 193 seats, the Greens 118 and The Free Democrats 92, Alternative for Germany 85 and Left Party 39. One seat was awarded towards SSW, the Danish Minority party SSW which was represented by the party for the first times since the 1970s.