German election update
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Leaders of Germany’s two main parties claimed to have won a mandate to form a post-Merkel national government, after a knife-edged national election that failed to give a clear winner.
CDU / CSU candidate Armin Laschet and Social Democrat Olaf Schulz have all said they will consult with other parties on forming an alliance.
Germany’s ARD broadcaster estimates SPD at 25.8 percent, CDU at 24.1 percent, Greens at 14.6 percent and Liberal Democrats (FDP) at 11.5 percent.
Closer results suggest that in the post-Merkel era, it may take time to determine who will rule Germany through tough coalition negotiations, with various parties involved.
“We will do everything we can to form a CDU / CSU-led government,” he told cheering supporters at the party’s headquarters in Berlin.
Laschet insisted that the alliance still has the right to explore alternatives, although the SPD appears to have received more votes than the CDU / CSU. “That was not always the case [in Germany] The parties that were in the first place provided the chancellor, ”he said on TV.
But Schulz insisted he would lead the coalition talks. “A lot of people gave their cross to the SPD because they wanted a change of government and wanted to be the next chancellor of this country, Olaf Schulz,” he said.
Preliminary results show that Germany is ready for a tripartite alliance, the first in its recent history. Much depends on whether the smaller parties, the Greens and the FDP, decide to team up with the CDU / CSU or the SPD.
FDP leader Christian Lindner said he thought his party would be “much more politically aligned” with the CDU / CSU-led government than the SPD-led government.
But he also said that for the Greens and the FDP, talking to each other first before consulting with the Social Democrats and Center-Wright would mean “to shape everything that comes next.”
Negotiations over an alliance will take weeks and possibly months of squabbling as the parties try to overcome their many differences and bring together an effective government.
“We’re still in the three-dimensional chess episode. . . It is impossible to say where this evening is going. Christian Martin, a political scientist at Kill University, said there were more possibilities than had been widely expected just a few days earlier.
Sunday’s Bundestag election was the first in Germany’s post-war history when a current chancellor did not stand for re-election, leaving the nation with the most volatile and unpredictable in living memory. SPD, CDU / CSU and Greens have seen a ten-point change in their poll ratings since the beginning of the year.
“It was clear to us that without the advantage of power it would be an open, rigorous and close election campaign and that is what happened,” Lashett said. “This is an exceptional situation.”
Merkel’s departure from power meant millions of voters who voted for her in previous elections but did not have strong allegiance to the CDU / CSU. This explains the massive decline in party support: the party won 32.9 percent in the 2017 election.
The Social Democrats led the polls in the last two weeks of the campaign, but in recent days the CDU / CSU has managed to stay away from their leadership. Lachett repeatedly warned that voting for the SPD would pave the way for a left-wing alliance between the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Die Link, which seeks to dismantle NATO.
Merkel also helped Lachett, who raised his approval rating after 16 years in power.
The chancellor has previously said he would keep his campaign presence to a minimum but has changed his mind as the CDU / CSU’s vote share has dwindled. Polstars said his stump speeches last week encouraged Laschet.
Green Chancellor-candidate Analina Bairbok insists her party has won its “best ever result” in parliamentary elections. But he made it clear that they were disappointed with the 18-20 percent effort they were making.
“We wanted more, but we didn’t get it, partly because of our own mistakes at the beginning of the campaign – my own mistakes,” he told supporters. “But we stand here tonight and say: This time was not enough, but we have a mission for the future.”
Additional report by Olaf Storbeck in Frankfurt