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Parliamentary elections in Germany: Who will replace Merkel's team

Angela Merkel. Photo: Reuters

Angela Merkel. Photo: Reuters

On September 26, parliamentary elections will take place in Germany. The country's residents will elect members of the Bundestag. Subsequently, it is they who will elect a new Chancellor.

Why are these elections significant?

First, this will be the first election since 2005 in which Angela Merkel does not lead the party Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Armin Laschet became the successor of the current Chancellor Merkel.

Secondly, they are characterized by a high degree of competitiveness, since the political force CDU/CSU, that won elections for 15 consecutive years, has now become the second party in the parliamentary rating, yielding precedence to the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) with its candidacy for Сhancellor—Olaf Scholz.

Let's take a look at the figures. According to a recent poll published by Bild, the parties have the following positions:

  • Social Democratic Party—26%;
  • Bloс of Christian Democratic and Christian Social Unions (CDU/CSU)—20%;
  • Alliance 90/The Greens—15%;
  • Free Democratic Party—13%;
  • Party Alternative for Germany—11%;
  • The Left Party—6%.

Parties enter parliament, clearing the 5% electoral threshold. The Bundestag consists of 709 members. Germany's electoral system makes it virtually impossible for a government to be formed by just one party.

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It is noteworthy that at the beginning of the summer, the CDU/CSU had about 27-28%. The ratings dip is due both to the slightly outdated meanings of the Conservative campaign, and to the organic dynamics of voters, who, after the symbolic rule of Merkel, seek to change the players in the political arena.

According to political strategist Oleg Posternak, the CDU/CSU was caught in the middle of a scandal: during a visit to the flood-affected areas Lashet was caught on camera laughing along with other politicians. In addition, for the first time, Germany is facing a situation where the current Chancellor is not struggling for re-election. The strategy of the conservative bloc boiled down to whipping up fear in society regarding the "left coalition" (SPD, the Greens, the Left Party), but in general, conservatives still hold certain positions.

The main supporters of their party are old school voters who have voted for the party for many consecutive years and value stability and competence. For instance, the presentation in early September of Armin Lashet’s potential government, consisting of experienced personnel, really brought the bloc electoral points. The party has strong positions in the southern and western lands of the country and especially in small towns and villages.

Closer to the election date, the number of "nuclear voters" is steadily declining and for most parties it is less than a third of their electorate. It is also necessary to understand that the regional cross-section of the elections and the turnout during the voting are different.

Quote"Most of the analytic forecasts are inclined to conclude that the SPD will win. The party was able to organize a strong electoral campaign and pull votes away from the Greens. In principle, the increase in votes over the past two weeks is due precisely to the disappointment of a part of voters in the "Greens", who have become victims of scandals. In general, the election campaign focused on three main issues: the problem of climate neutrality, the tax policy and the public debt, and the digitalization in the education system," political strategist Oleg Posternak says.

It is worth noting that on September 4, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko and Armin Laschet held a joint event in Hanover. Klitschko was a guest of the CDU youth organization.

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Why did Klitschko need it? The fact is that Klitschko is quite famous in Germany—both as an athlete and as a politician. He lived in Hamburg for a long time and is a political friend of Angela Merkel herself, who provided situational assistance to Klitschko on various issues.

The fact that this event was for young people is also no coincidence. Most likely, the CDU/CSU is fighting for young votes and attracting VIP agitators to events. By the way, during the last elections to the European Parliament in 2019, the "Greens" gained a record 34% among voters under 24 years old, but their overall result was only 20.5%.

Speaking of the positions of the President’s Office regarding these elections, it is obvious that effective work can be with any Chancellor who supports Ukraine.

"We will root for the leader of Germany, a democratic and modern Germany, who will be chosen by the German people themselves," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in August, commenting on a meeting with Robert Habeck, co-chairman of the Green Party. Habek is known for supporting Ukraine's commitment to obtain German weapons and equipment for defense purposes.

Quote"According to sociology, the elections should end with an almost unprecedented victory for the Social Democratic Party of Germany in all regions except Bavaria, Saxony and a number of large cities," political scientist Glib Parfenov believes.

The most important issue is the issue of the government coalition. No party on its own will be able to form a government with such a scale of support, so we should expect a coalition of the SPD and the CDU/CSU, in which the Social Democrats can get the status of the main one.

The expert notes that Chancellor Scholz, as a representative of the Social Democrats, will quite possibly continue the Ostpolitik, traditional for his party.

Quote"We will see more movement towards integration processes within the EU itself into a supranational organism, due to the European federalism inherent in the SPD. At the initial stage, the policy regarding Ukraine will be rather cool amid the policy of Angela Merkel. The SPD remains more skeptical about accelerating the integration of the Eastern Partnership countries into the EU, including Ukraine, due to its unwillingness to tease Russia," Glib Parfenov, Head of the Department for Security at the Center for Political Studies "Doctrine", said.

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