In post-war times only Helmut Kohl and Konrad Adenauer managed to get reelected for the third term as a chancellor. Angela Merkel became the third person who did that, winning the parliamentary elections. She fell short only of five seats to be able to form the absolute majority – 42 percent of German voters supported Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. This is the best result for the CDU since 1990. However, their potential coalition partners got left out of the game since they failed to cross the five-percent election barrier. Now there is a question of distribution of forces – who would Merkel choose as coalition allies?
According to the most recent reports, the Christian Democrats won 41.5 percent of the votes, Social Democrats – 25.7 percent, the leftists – 8.6 percent, and the green party – 8.4 percent. Thus, the future German parliament will be formed by the four parties.
“We can celebrate tonight because we have done something fantastic. This is a super result,” said Angela Merkel addressing her supporters at the headquarters of the CDU in Berlin. She thanked all her supporters and said that the recent years have been rather difficult. However, she refused to give any predictions about the options of forming the government coalition.
Meanwhile, Merkel’s main rival in the parliamentary elections, the leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany Peer Steinbrueck referred to the preliminary results of the election as such that do not correspond to the set objectives: “To put it simply, we have not achieved the desired result. It can be considered an obvious improvement compared to the elections in 2009, but this is not the result that would lead us to the outlined goal,” said Steinbrueck. However, according to him, “the ball is now on Merkel’s side of the field” and she must provide the majority, needed to form a coalition.
“Such success of the CDU can be explained by the great trust of the German people to Merkel and by the fact that Germany, thanks to the reforms initiated by her predecessor, has been stable, while the entire Europe was in crisis,” said Andreas UMLAND, Ph.D. in History and Political Science, in his comment for The Day. “Thus, in general German economy is relatively strong compared to other countries.”
Deputy Editor-in-Chief of German news site Zeit Online Karsten Polke-Majewski considers Merkel’s victory to be a triumph: “More than 40 percent. This is not only a victory in the election. It is a demonstration of power. And this power has a name – Angela Merkel. German Chancellor has overcome all the barriers in the past eight years and dispelled doubts of the opposition parties, who wanted to take her place in the position of a Chancellor.”
Even though in eight years of being in power Merkel managed to keep Germany safe from the global financial crisis and stabilize the situation in the Southern Europe, many promises remain unfulfilled. Voters expect her to be more decisive: “After the triumph in the election Chancellor has nothing to lose. She should use the term of the legislative bodies mandate to carry out all reforms in Europe and Germany,” said Thomas Schmid in his comment for Die Welt.
The main surprise in the results of the election was that the Free Democrats, Merkel’s potential partners for forming the coalition, received 4.8 percent of the votes and did not get the seats in the parliament. “The losing of the Free Democrats is historical, because the party has been represented in the Bundestag since 1949,” said Andreas UMLAND. He explained it by the fact that this is a party of the rich that has lost the support of the voters and failed to explain to the Germans why it should be in the parliament. That’s why their electorate switched to the CDU, the Social Democrats, and anti-European Party “Alternative for Germany.” In fact, the new party “Alternative for Germany,” which opposed Germany’s membership in the eurozone, lacked only 0.1 percent to get to the parliament, receiving 4.9 percent of the votes.
It is possible that the CDU will have to consider the so-called “grand coalition” with the Social Democrats, who, led by Peer Steinbrueck, were the main opponents of the CDU in this election and received nearly 26 percent of the votes.
“For Ukraine, this election will not be critical, since the position of Germany will not change,” said Andreas UMLAND. “Both parties have pretty much the same position regarding Germany’s foreign policy. However, due to the fact that Merkel has lost her coalition partner, it is unclear who will become the Minister of Foreign Affairs that will deal with Ukraine. Even under the new coalition you can hardly expect any changes in Germany’s position regarding how Yulia Tymoshenko’s case should be solved. Merkel still remains the Chancellor, who was rather close with Tymoshenko.”