Who will be “the future chancellor”? Voters went to the polls this Sunday between 8 am and 6 pm for legislative elections where Social Democrats (SPD) and Conservatives (CDU) are fighting over the succession of Angela Merkel, who will leave the chancellery after sixteen years in power.
In the evening, the two German public channels ARD and ZDF, gave the SPD a slight lead over their conservative rivals (union CDU / CSU), according to projections based on partial results.
Led by the Minister of Finance and outgoing Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz, they collect between 25.9% and 26% of the vote, against 24.1 and 24.5% for Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian ally CSU. The Greens take third place with between 14.7% and 13.9% of the vote, ahead of the Liberal Party FDP between 11.5% and 11.7%.
In the Bundestag, according to projections by the German public channel ZDF, the SPD would win 210 seats (+57), the CDU / CSU union 198 (-48), the environmentalists 112 (+45), the liberals of the FDP 95 (+ 15), the far right of the AfD 85 (-9) and the radical left, Die Linke, 40 (-29). Still according to the same, the new lower house of the German Parliament should have 740 deputies, against 709 currently.
The participation rate is, according to the ZDF, around 77%. This is a slight increase compared to the previous elections in 2017 when it was 76.2%.
SPD and CDU claim the right to form the next government
The two major German parties have both demanded the formation of the next government.
Olaf Scholz, the leader of the SPD, spoke in his first reaction of a “great success” and introduced himself as the “next chancellor“.
“We will do all we can to form a government under the leadership of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU)“, for his part, said Armin Laschet, during a speech from the headquarters of the CDU in Berlin, after the announcement of the first trends.
The Conservative stressed, however, that his camp could not “not be satisfied“of the decline recorded during the ballot.
A coalition “before Christmas“
The SPD and the CDU have also indicated that they want to form the future coalition “before Christmas”.
“Germany holds the G7 presidency in 2022“, notably pleaded the leader of the conservatives, Armin Laschet.
His opponent, Olaf Scholz, judged him: “we must do everything to make this possible before Christmas, and a little earlier would also be good“.
If the current trend, where the SPD is in the lead, is confirmed, Olaf Scholz, current vice-chancellor and finance minister of the outgoing government, seems to have the best chances of succeeding Angela Merkel, chancellor for 16 years, and of starting the “change” promised at the end of the campaign.
This centrist Social Democrat, however, will have to build a three-party coalition, a first in contemporary German history.
Which coalition for Germany?
The parties that came third and fourth, the environmentalists of the Grünen and the liberals of the FDP therefore appear to be potential partners in building a coalition. What are the different options?
This coalition has never existed at the federal level, but the government of the Land of Schleswig-Holstein is formed on this principle.
- Coalition “traffic light”
This coalition never existed at the federal level, but the government of Rhineland-Palatinate (SPD) was formed on this principle.
- Red-red-green coalition, or “R2G”
This coalition never existed at the federal level, but the governments of the Länder of Berlin (where the SPD leads) and Thuringia (where the Die Linke leads) are formed on this principle.
This coalition never existed at the federal level, but the governments of the Länder of Saxony (where the CDU leads) and Brandenburg (where the SPD leads) are formed on this principle.
This coalition has never existed at the federal level, but the government of the Land of Saxony-Anhalt is formed on this principle.
Coalitions with two partners are also possible, such as the “grand coalition”, which existed at the federal level between 1966/1969, 2005/2009, 2013/2018 and which has been in force since 2018.
The Kiwi coalition, which brings together the CDU and the Grünen, is also an option. This coalition never existed at the federal level, but the governments of the Länder of Hesse (where the CDU leads) and Thuringia (where the Greens lead) are formed on this principle.
Finally, a last alternative could be a “red-green” coalition, as was the case between 1998 and 2005 when Germany was led by Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.
The unknown of postal voting
In addition to voting directly in the voting booth, Germans also had the possibility of voting by post since August 16. In the 2017 federal election, 28.6% of voters chose this option. Strong disparities were observed according to the different Länder. Postal voting represented 37.3% in Bavaria while it was only 17.9% in Saxony-Anhalt for example.
No estimate has yet been given regarding postal voting. But depending on its importance, the ballots sent by post could have an impact on the final results.