Germany election: Katya Adler on importance to US and EU
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Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) defeated Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), as the outgoing chancellor proved she really was the driving force behind the party’s 16 consecutive years in power. Preliminary results show it was a tight race, with coalition negotiations expected to rumble on for some months to come.
Preliminary results show the SPD won the greatest share of the vote, with 25.7 percent from the nation’s 299 constituencies.
The CDU came in second with 24.1 percent – a small margin, but the worst the party has seen in more than 50 years.
In third is the Greens, with 14.8 percent, followed by the Free Democrats (FDP) on 11.8 percent.
Right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) came in fifth with 10.3 percent, and the Left Party is in sixth with 4.9 percent.
Negotiations to form a coalition must now begin, but they are expected to be long and complex.
SPD leader Olaf Scholz says he has a clear mandate to form a government, but his CDU rival, Armin Laschet, is determined to fight on.
Mr Scholz told a televised audience voters had given him the job of forming a “good, pragmatic government for Germany”.
Mr Laschet hit back, saying it was about forging a coalition, not about getting “an arithmetic majority”.
However, he admitted his party’s worst-ever result “isn’t pretty”.
But he added that “no one had an incumbent bonus in this election” as he vowed to fight on to be the one to form a government.
Ms Merkel will remain in her post until a coalition is formed, and experts have said this could drag on into 2022.
The SPD and CDU have governed together for years but are unlikely to continue.
Instead, the Greens and liberals are looking for a role in a new coalition, with the opportunity to play kingmaker wide open.
Together, the parties make up over a quarter of the vote and would carry both of the big parties over the line.
Of all the possible coalitions, the Greens and the liberals feature in the two that are most likely to form.
One is the so-called traffic-light coalition, made up of the parties’ colours – red (SPD), yellow (FDP) and the Greens – or there’s the Jamaica alternative, black (CDU), yellow (FDP) and the Greens.
Greens leader Annalina Baerbock said the climate crisis would be the “basis for any talks”.
And the leader of the FDP, Christian Lindner, suggested his party and the Greens should make the first move.
He said: “About 75 per cent of Germans didn’t vote for the next chancellor’s party.
“So it might be advisable … that the Greens and Free Democrats first speak to each other to structure everything that follows.”
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