Thursday

7th Jul 2022

Merkel celebrates 'super result' in German vote

  • Merkel back in the driving seat in Germany and in Europe (Photo: Bundesregierung/Kugler)

"We can all be happy tonight because we did great. This is a super result," a smiling Chancellor Angela Merkel told cheering supporters in Germany on Sunday (22 September) after the first exit polls came out in federal elections.

At one point, some pollsters indicated her Christian Democratic/Social Christian Union (CDU/CSU) may even get enough seats to govern alone.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

But after a long night of counting, the official result out early on Monday morning shows that Merkel will need coalition partner.

According to the election authority, the CDU/CSU got 41.5 percent of the vote, eight points more than in the 2009 elections.

It is the Union's best result since 1990, when voters gave Chancellor Helmut Kohl a strong mandate for his role in German reunification.

With 311 out of 630 parliament seats, Merkel's Union could govern either with the Social Democrats (192 seats) or the Greens (63 seats).

Her former coalition ally, the liberal Free Democratic Party failed to make it into the Bundestag for the first time since it was created, in 1949.

"This is the most bitter and sad moment in the history of the Free Democratic Party," the FDP leader and outgoing minister of economy, Philipp Roesler, said.

With just 4.8 percent of the vote, the Liberals got almost 10 points less than in 2009.

Some 2 million votes migrated to the CDU/CSU and almost half a million to the anti-euro Alternative fuer Deutschland party, which almost did make the Bundestag threshold.

AfD's unexpected scoop of 4.7 percent of the vote just a few months after it was launched it proof that a sizeable minority of German voters strongly oppose any more bailouts and would like to see countries like Greece booted out of the eurozone.

Meanwhile, another winner in Sunday's elections is the leftist Linke party (8.6%), which for the first time in its history became the third largest group in parliament, outnumbering the Greens.

Long coalition talks ahead

Leading Social-Democrats on Sunday night were quick in congratulating Merkel for her "impressive" result, but they stopped short of saying they would create another Grand Coalition.

"The ball is in Merkel's court now. She is the one who has to secure a majority," the SPD's lead candidate, Peer Steinbrueck, said.

Sigmar Gabriel, the SPD's likely coalition negotiator said his party "never rules out anything" and that just because the last Grand Coalition ended badly for his party, it does not mean they would not do it again.

"It [a potential coalition] will be about substance, political ideas, not about ministerial posts or alike," he said.

With a strong negotiating mandate, Merkel is unlikely to give up the post of finance minister, currently held by veteran CDU man Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Speaking to public broadcaster ARD on Sunday, the 71-year old Schaeuble said he is "grateful" he could serve as minister these past few years, but declined to speculate if he will stay on.

The post of foreign minister (currently held by Liberal Guido Westerwelle) is traditionally reserved for the coalition partner.

But over the past eight years of coalition governments, Merkel has strengthened her grip on foreign policy, with all the big foreign policy decisions being crafted in the chancellery rather than the foreign ministry.

If Merkel and the SPD fail to agree terms, the only other option is to team up with the Greens, as the Linke is taboo due to its Communist past in former east Germany.

Germans head to the polls in close election

Latest polls suggest a tight race in Germany between Merkel's coalition and the leftist-Green opposition led by Steinbrueck as voters come out on Sunday.

Analysis

German elections: Little change for EU

Merkel seems set to win a third mandate on Sunday. But whatever the outcome, Germany's stance in Europe is unlikely to see a dramatic shift.

Merkel: No need to change Europe policy

Merkel has vowed to keep the same course in the eurozone crisis as she starts negotiations on a grand coalition with the Social-Democrats.

Analysis

Why did Germans vote for Merkel, again?

Germans prefer 'Mutti' Merkel because they trust she can protect their prosperity. But the flipside of this fear of losing money is the rise of an anti-euro party, set to enter the European Parliament next year.

Is Orban holding out an olive branch to EPP?

It is Tibor Navracsics, an ex-EU commissioner and minister without portfolio in Orban's new government, who was reportedly picked to work on closer relations between Fidesz and the European People's Party.

Column

'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements

Some modest headway in recognising the unrelenting tide of discrimination and violence facing women worldwide was made at last week's largely self-congratulatory and mostly irrelevant G7 talk-fest. But no one mentioned abortion, just days after the Roe vs Wade decision.

News in Brief

  1. British PM defiant amid spate of resignations
  2. France says EU fiscal discipline rules 'obsolete'
  3. Russia claims untouchable status due to nuclear arsenal
  4. Catalan MEPs lose EU court case over recognition
  5. 39 arrested in migrant-smuggling dragnet
  6. France to nationalise nuclear operator amid energy crisis
  7. Instant legal challenge after ok for 'green' gas and nuclear
  8. Alleged Copenhagen shooter tried calling helpline

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Is Orban holding out an olive branch to EPP?
  2. EU should freeze all EU funds to Hungary, says study
  3. Legal action looms after MEPs back 'green' nuclear and gas
  4. EU readies for 'complete Russian gas cut-off', von der Leyen says
  5. Rising prices expose lack of coherent EU response
  6. Keeping gas as 'green' in taxonomy vote only helps Russia
  7. 'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements
  8. Greece defends disputed media and migration track record

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us