Germany’s federal election opens up new opportunities

Wednesday, 2021-09-29 08:48:50
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Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader and top candidate for chancellor Olaf Scholz holds a bouquet of flowers at their party leadership meeting. (Photo: Reuters)
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NDO – Germany’s federal election for a new parliament concluded in favour of the opposition Social Democrats. After 16 consecutive years of rule by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), the German people have witnessed a major shift in the political elite.

The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) won a narrow victory in the 20th German parliamentary election, considered a dramatic affair, with a margin of only 1% over the ruling CDU/CSU.

For the first time since 2005, the SPD of top candidate for chancellor Olaf Scholz has been returned as the strongest political party in Germany. In addition, the Green Party received 14.8% of the vote, its highest result in its history, becoming the third strongest political party in Germany; while Germany’s liberal Free Democrats (FDP) got 11.5% of the vote.

This is considered a bitter defeat for the CDU/CSU, as during its 16 consecutive years in power, Chancellor Merkel’s party always won overwhelmingly in elections, especially considering when the most powerful female Chancellor in the world for more than a decade decided not to seek re-election.

Immediately after the election results were announced, Olaf Scholz announced that the SPD would seek a governing coalition with the Green Party and the FDP, in order to gain a majority of parlimentary seats, thereby having the right to form a new government in Germany.

Analysts have posed three scenarios for a new government in Germany. The first is a coalition of the SPD, FDP and the Green Party, which will account for 52% of all parlimentary seats. But so far, the FDP has always expressed its desire to ally with the CDU/CSU. To get the “nod” from the FDP, it is likely that the SPD and the Green Party must “give up” the position of finance minister to the FDP.

The second option would be to push the SPD into opposition, with a coalition of the CDU/CSU, FDP and the Green Party. Such a coalition would also have a majority in the Federal Parliament, but the CDU/CSU and FDP would have to restrain the Green Party in policies on social issues or environmental protection.

A third possibility would be a coalition of the SPD, the Greens and the Left. In addition to the fact that if these three parties join hands and are still only a minority government, the Left party has many differences with the other two in foreign policy such as opposition to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), 2% spending on defence and regarding the deployment of armed forces on overseas missions.

The era of Chancellor Angela Merkel is coming to an end. However, the resignation of this powerful female politician has opened up new opportunities for other political parties in Germany.

KHANH LINH/Translated by NDO