© Reuters. SPD leader and first candidate for chancellor Olaf Schulz and co-leader Saskia Esken respond after the first exit polls in the general election in Berlin, Germany, on September 26, 2021. REUTERS/Wolfgang Ratte
Written by Emma Thomason and Paul Carell
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Social Democrats prepared on Monday to start the process of trying to form a government after narrowly winning their first national elections since 2005 to end 16 years of conservative rule led by Angela Merkel.
The center-left Social Democrats (SPD) won 25.7% of the vote, ahead of Merkel’s conservative bloc CDU/CSU’s 24.1%, according to preliminary results. The Greens came in with 14.8% and the Liberal Democrats (FDP) with 11.5%.
The recovery of the SPD marks a temporary revival of center-left parties in parts of Europe, following the election of Democrat Joe Biden as US President in 2020. Norway https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/norways-election-winners-meet- View – Formation of majority government – 09-23-2021 An opposition center-left party also won the elections earlier this month.
SPD candidate for chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/german-leadership-race-boring-olaf-bets-craving-stability-2021-09-21 coalition deal before Christmas , In spite of
His opponent, Christian Democrat Armin Laschet, 60, said he could still try to form a government despite the conservatives’ worst-ever election result.
Merkel will remain in the caretaker role during the coalition negotiations https://reut.rs/2ZeqYw3 that will determine the future course of Europe’s largest economy.
German shares opened 1.1% higher on Monday, with investors pleased that the pro-business FDP seemed likely to join the next government while the far left Lenke failed to win enough votes to be considered a coalition partner.
“From a market perspective, the good news should be that a left-wing alliance is mathematically impossible,” said Jens Oliver Niklash, an economist at LBBW.
He said the other parties had enough in common to find a workable compromise.
Personalities and ministerial positions are likely to be more important in the end than politics.
Who will be the leader?
The two sides will start talking about each other on Monday about potential alliances in informal discussions.
The SPD is likely to seek an alliance with the Greens and the FDP to secure a parliamentary majority, although the two parties could also team up with the Conservatives.
SPD general secretary Lars Klingbeil told ARD television that the party would struggle to ensure that Schulz would become the next chancellor. “We won the elections,” he said.
Klingel said the SPD will talk with the Greens and the FDP about forming the next government, adding that the party leadership is scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss next steps.
The Greens and the FDP said last night, however, that they would first talk to each other to elicit areas for compromise before beginning negotiations with either the SPD and CDU.
If Schulz, 63, succeeds in forming a coalition, Merkel’s finance minister and former mayor of Hamburg would become the SPD’s fourth post-war chancellor.
There is still a chance for his party to align with the Greens and the Free Democratic Party, Paul Zimyak, general secretary of the Christian Democrats under Merkel, said, adding that Laschet knows how to keep coalitions together.
Alliance for Christmas?
Merkel has been prominent on the European stage almost since taking office in 2005 – when George W. Bush was US president, Jacques Chirac at the Elysee Palace in Paris, and Tony Blair as British prime minister.
But Berlin’s allies in Europe and beyond will likely have to wait months before they can see how the new German government will deal with foreign issues.
Assuming the SPD agrees to a deal with the Greens and the FDP, the Greens can provide the foreign minister, as they did with Joschka Fischer in their previous bilateral alliance with the SPD, while the FDP seeks the finance ministry.
The row between Washington and Paris over a deal for Australia to buy the United States instead of French submarines has put Germany in an awkward position among allies, but it also gives Berlin an opportunity to help mend ties and rethink their common position on China.
On economic policy, French President Emmanuel Macron is eager to formulate a common European fiscal policy, supported by the Greens, but the CDU/CSU and the FDP refuse. The Greens also want a “massive expansion offensive to renewables https://reut.rs/2T1UKS3”.
One thing is certain: the future government will not include the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) which scored 10.3%, down from four years ago when they stormed the national parliament with 12.6% of the vote. All major politicians rule out an alliance with the party.