Elections in Germany: who will be Angela Merkel’s successor? – Europe – International

September 26, 2021 by archyde

Uncertainty and expectation. That is the feeling of the Germans for today’s tight parliamentary elections, which will mark not only the departure of the Chancellor Angela Merkel after 16 years in powerRather, they do foresee long months of negotiations to find his successor.

According to polls, the German leadership is torn between the Social Democratic leader of the SPD, Olaf Scholz, who arrives at the polls with a slight advantage over Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU / CSU) candidate, Armin Laschet.

(You may be interested in: Merkel calls to vote for Laschet so that ‘Germany remains stable’).

With the vote fragmented as never before, multiple possibilities for coalition and the need to negotiate a possible tripartite unprecedented in half a century, today’s elections open a new political stage in Germany, who has had Merkel in power since 2005 and whose solidity and predictability will also go with her.

Still very popular with the electorate after four terms in which she emerged as a key figure in international politics, Merkel is the first outgoing chancellor since 1949 not to run for re-election.

“Merkel left a stable democracy and a growing economy, continuing that so-called ‘German economic miracle’ after World War II. Without a doubt, he knew how to handle different crises, especially in the international arena. She is a good captain of a ship in the open sea, but now the country needs a person who is looking beyond the horizon to know which port to take the country to in the long term, “he tells EL TIEMPO Ralf J. Leiteritz, Professor of the Faculty of International, Political and Urban Studies of the Universidad del Rosario.

With climate change and the economy as the main axes of the electoral campaigns, what is not clear is who will be that new leader who responds to the transformation demanded by the electorate.

(Read also: What candidates want to succeed Angela Merkel in Germany?).

Aspiring Armin Laschet and outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Photo:

Lukas Barth-Tuttas. EFE

For the political editor of the German daily ‘Berliner Zeitung’, Christine Dankbar, “few times has uncertainty been so high in Germany”. “Historically our system has been bipartisan. We elected a Parliament made up of different political forces and whose head until now had to reconcile with another one to form a Government. This time, almost certainly, it will need an alliance with at least two formations ”.

With Scholz y Laschet, The growing environmental sensitivity and the radicalization of a sector of the population around immigration policy led to the emergence of other parties. The Greens, the Liberals (FDP) and the extreme right (AFD), although the latter is excluded from any possibility of joining a coalition due to its anti-democratic and xenophobic positions.

In any case, the range of coalition options is wide and the negotiations can last for months in which Merkel and her ministers will remain in office on an interim basis.

My forecast is that by the end of the year Angela Merkel will remain Chancellor

An estimated four out of ten Germans remain undecided. The fundamental question is whether they will opt for change or stability. Neither Scholz nor Laschet will be able to obtain enough votes to form a government on their own, this added to the fact that they are part of the so-called traditional bipartisan coalitions and whose continuation is deeply unpopular. Since they both need at least two other parties, probably the Greens and the FDP, to form a governing coalition, the elections will ultimately come down to which candidate can strike the right balance between making compromises to put other parties on their side. side without alienating their own base. This means that both the so-called ‘traffic light coalition’ (SPD, FDP, The Greens) and the ‘Jamaica coalition’ (CDU, FDP, The Greens) remain viable ”, explains Johannes Schultz, analyst at the consultancy Control Risks for Germany .

(You may be interested in: Germany: candidates to succeed Merkel face off in televised debate)

And it is that the “real game” will begin this Sunday night when the legislative results. “My forecast is that Angela Merkel will remain Chancellor by the end of the year. But while there will be very complicated negotiations, the truth is that in the German tradition the desire to maintain political stability overrides the egos of party leaders.. In this sense, surely in the first months of next year a negotiation will emerge that will lead to a new government ”, says Leiteritz.

Elections in Germany: who will be Angela Merkel’s successor? – Europe – International

The candidate Olaf Scholz during the closing of his campaign at the Brandenburg gate.

Scholz vs. Laschet

In August, the Social Democrats came up with a catapult growing ten points in the forecast of seats. Its leader, Scholz, seems the most successful candidate, although his promotion was due to the strong setback of the CDU and Los Verdes. But these trends stopped in the last two weeks. “More than being due to the real strength of the SPD, or of Scholz himself, his promotion has to do with the mistakes made by the other candidates. Annalena Baerbock (leader of the Greens) was accused of committing plagiarism in the book she wrote and of manipulating her resume, and Laschet was shown as the continuation of Merkel, which shocked the electorate ”, says Leiteritz.

For the analyst, “Scholz is at the same time someone who represents change and continuity”. “On the one hand, he is Merkel’s current finance minister, but at the same time he insists that his party is going to bet on the transformation. He was the one who planned a change without major shocks, having Laschet on the right bank and Baerbock on the left ”, he explains.

If the so-called “miracle” occurs and the SPD breaks with the CDU’s dominance in front of the Foreign Ministry – the party has held the position for 52 out of 72 in the history of the federal republic – Germany could veer toward a center-left coalition.

Günther Maihold, director of the German Institute for International Policy and Security, stresses that Scholz has “significantly less control over his party, as opposed to what Merkel achieved during most of her term.” “The SPD is much more politically divided and has a left-wing leadership. Therefore, Scholz will probably have to make many more compromises within his party before shaping national and international policies, ”he says.

(In context: Who is Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany?).

An estimated four out of ten Germans remain undecided. The fundamental question is whether they will opt for change or stability

Now, if Laschet manages to prevail, too will have to deal with two matches, which “is going to complicate his way of governing, unlike his predecessor.” “Laschet lacks government experience and the ability to focus on priority issues. Furthermore, his temptation to be able to communicate more easily with the population in this electoral campaign worked against him, ”says Maihold.

For the analyst, the CDU is facing a generational change and facing the task, not easy, of emancipating itself from the figure of Merkel. “These two processes stopped the candidacy of Laschet, only named in July, and put the party late in the race with a candidate who only obtained partial support.”.

Finally, environmentalists will have to play a key role in the future government, although their third place is disappointing for their militants. Baerbock opts for a coalition with the Social Democrats, but does not rule out working with the conservatives.

Regardless of who the new German Chancellor is, analysts agree that their first task will be to achieve form a stable government with a common program that avoids conflicts.

“A coalition involving the SPD, the Greens and the FDP is the most likely scenario, according to polls, although undecided voters will ultimately be the key,” warns Schultz.

For the journalist Dankbar, the winds of change will force deep debates. “We have acted in an old-fashioned way in many ways. The demographic recomposition and the new priorities of the population will force the new government to make profound changes, ”he says, emphasizing that these must include the implementation of the ambitious climate agenda, in addition to responding to the economic consequences of the pandemic and strengthening the political center against the growing conspiratorial and far-right influences.

Certainly, the issues on the agenda of the next German government are numerous and include digital backwardness, an aging population, inequality and the definition of a policy towards China or Russia. “All these situations need to be discussed and resolved, because in some way they are the pending legacy that Merkel leaves,” said Maihold.

STEPHANY ECHAVARRÍA CHILD
INTERNATIONAL SUBEDITOR
TIME
On Twitter: @dulcitodemora

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my