Saturday

6th Jun 2020

Merkel survives election 'earthquake'

  • Merkel's government likely to have a majority of just 348 out of 631 seats (Photo: Reuters)

Angela Merkel looks set to rule Germany for another four years together with liberals and greens, but there is a new troublemaker - the far-right AfD party - on the scene.

The likely coalition emerged after exit polls on Sunday (24 September) said Merkel's centre-right CDU/CSU party won with 32.5 percent and the centre-left SPD got its worst result in decades with 20 percent.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Both mainstream parties lost dozens of seats, paving the way for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party to burst into parliament with 13.5 percent.

In some segments, for instance in the state of Saxony, or among men in the former East Germany, the AfD came top.

The liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) made a comeback with 10.5 percent after four years out of the Bundestag. The Greens got 9.5 percent and the far-left Die Linke party got 9 percent.

Coalition talks could go on until mid-November, but the SPD immediately ruled out joining Merkel for another grand alliance.

Thomas Opperman, a senior MP, said his party would go into opposition instead. Martin Schulz, the SPD's candidate, called Sunday a "bitter day".

That left the centre-right/liberal/green coalition, called the Jamaica coalition because the parties' colours matched those of the Jamaican flag, as the most likely option.

Merkel told cheering supporters on Sunday that she would remain in office, saying: "No government can be formed against us".

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a senior CDU member, said the Jamaica coalition was "doable".

Martin Selmayr, the head of cabinet of European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, also tweeted a picture of EU flags next to a Jamaican flag.

The Jamaica model would mean Merkel's next government would have a majority of just 348 out of 631 seats in the Bundestag.

It might also mean the departure of Merkel's right-hand man, finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, with the FDP eyeing the finance post.

Merkel's weakening grip on power comes in difficult times.

The AfD party, which could get more than 80 MPs, greeted Sunday's result with roars of joy at its HQ in Berlin.

Its main candidate, Alexander Gauland, said: "We will take back our country and our people".

The AfD party leader, Frauke Petry, called the result a "political earthquake".

The outcome will see the Bundestag host far-right MPs for the first time since 1960, when the nationalist Deutsche Partei held seats.

It will "strengthen conservatives in the CDU/CSU", which is "not good for Europe," according to Henrik Enderlein, from the Hertie School of Governance, a university in Berlin.

Guntram Wolff, from the Bruegel think tank in Brussels, predicted that the CDU would "shift to the right".

The result will also aggravate divisions in German society, with anti-AfD protesters chanting "Nazis out" next to its HQ on Sunday and with a larger anti-fascist rally planned later in the evening.

Voter turnout was 77 percent, up from 71.5 percent in 2013.

There had been fears that Russia would try to sway the outcome by leaking material that its hackers stole from the Bundestag.

This did not happen, but Russian media and social media campaigned for the AfD and circulated unfounded allegations of voter fraud.

Analysis

Merkel-Macron: An EU motor in the making

Merkel's re-election is expected to revive the Franco-German EU motor, but the German leader and France's new ruler are still searching for a common vision.

Visual Data

The Merkelisation of Europe

Angela Merkel, the EU's most powerful leader, is running for a fourth time in Germany's election on Sunday. But what has changed in Europe over the 12 years of her chancellorship?

EU hopes German elections lead to 'better Europe'

Jean-Claude Juncker's right-hand man suggested a favoured form of coalition by tweeting a Jamaican flag, the symbol of a government with the christian-democrats, the liberals and the Greens.

Analysis

Merkel's win heralds uncertain time

On Sunday, Germans elected Angela Merkel for her fourth term in office. However, she may be facing her most difficult period yet as chancellor.

News in Brief

  1. Poland accused of 'blatant violation' of EU court injunction
  2. EU concerned by US approach to Kosovo and Serbia
  3. City morgues cast doubt on Putin's virus data
  4. ECB increases pandemic stimulus to €1.35 trillion
  5. New EU cloud computing platform 'moonshot'
  6. City of Berlin passes anti-discrimination law
  7. Iran hits record corona cases in second wave
  8. EU job losses tell tale of pandemic damage

Parliament outmanoeuvred in EU top-post game

The European Parliament on Tuesday lost a years-long power struggle, and gave up winning more influence on European politics via the so-called Spitzenkandidat process it had championed.

Who is the new EU parliament president, David Sassoli?

The 63-year-old centre-left Italian MEP was elected president of the European Parliament, with 345 votes. A former journalist, Sassoli has experience as a vice-president of the parliament, but is little known.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  3. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  5. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition

Latest News

  1. EU warns UK to abide by Brexit political declaration
  2. Internal EU borders open by 15 June - bar V4, Portugal, Spain
  3. CAP 'failed to halt biodiversity loss', auditors find
  4. After Covid-19, deserted Venice struggles to survive
  5. Commission plans strategy to 'maximise' vaccine access
  6. How spies use women to steal EU secrets
  7. Hong Kong - when the Chinese Dream became a nightmare
  8. Right of reply: Letter from the Hungarian government

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us