After a tightly fought race, the Social Democrats emerged winners at Germany’s general election on Sunday. According to preliminary results, the SPD finished the strongest party, closely followed by the CDU/CSU. The Greens are in third place, followed by the FDP and AfD. The Left Party plunged to below five per cent.
The SPD won 25.7 per cent of the vote, representing an improvement of its performance at the last election in 2017 when it scored 20.5% while the CDU/CSU followed closely with 24.1 per cent, a dismal showing given that it had won 32.9% four years ago. The Greens achieved their best result ever in a federal election with 14.8 per cent; they won 8.9% in 2017. The FDP also improved its performance to 11.5 per cent (it scored 10.7% in 2017).
The AfD, previously in third place, now only has 10.3 per cent (12.6% in 2017) while the Left Party slipped to 4.9 per cent from 9.2% that it won four years ago. However, as it retained three of its last five direct mandates, the party will be represented in the Bundestag again.
After 16 years of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, the CDU/CSU fell to a record low on Sunday. Nevertheless, not only Olaf Scholz, chancellor candidate of the SPD, has claimed the right to form a government but also Armin Laschet of the CDU/CSU.
Both are aiming for a coalition with the Greens and the FDP. The reason is that various coalition constellations are possible going by the number of seats won by the parties and analysts say if the Greens and the FDP agree on common positions, they both could decide to form a coalition with the SPD or CDU/CSU.
Observers of German politics are looking at weeks of hard negotiations ahead of the parties as the race to form a government hots up.