As Germany’s election results quickly became known on Monday, neither side won a decisive majority, but the defeat was clear: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.
After 16 years in power under Merkel, her vote share fell nearly nine points to just 24.1 percent of the vote. It was the party’s worst result in its history, and the election marked the end of the German and European era.
According to preliminary official results, published Monday morning, the SPD beat Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union by 1.6 percentage points. Its candidate Olaf Scholz insisted on the party’s five-point lead in 2017 – which earned him 25.7% of the vote – and gave him the mandate to form the next government.
It takes at least three parties to form a government, so the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats want to have competitive talks.
Germany had taken a political stance on Monday as both sides tried to win over partners for a possible government.
Europe’s biggest democracy hangs in the air at a crucial time as the continent is still struggling to recover from the pandemic and France, Germany’s partner at the heart of Europe, is taking weeks if not months to form a coalition. can take. He faced an election with a split the following spring.
For more than a decade, Merkel was not only the Federal Chancellor of Germany, but also the de facto leader of Europe. It has propelled its country and continent through successive crises, helping Germany become the leading power in Europe for the first time since World War II.
When the election exit was announced on Sunday night, there was a surge of excitement at the SPD headquarters. Moments later the supporters clapped and shouted “Olaf! Olaf!” Olaf! The candidate Olaf Scholz took the stage to address the audience.
“People are ticking the SPD because they want a change of government there and because they want the next Chancellor to be Olaf Scholz,” he said.
The campaign turned out to be the most volatile in decades. Merkel’s Christian Democrat candidate Armin Lashet has long been regarded as the leader, while a number of mistakes due to his unpopularity have undermined his party’s leadership. Because of his solid personality, Mr. Scholz was fully committed to his party before a spectacular 10-point comeback. And the Greens, which briefly led the polls, did not live up to expectations, but recorded their best result so far
Mr Lashet appeared at his party headquarters an hour after the election ended, declaring the result “fuzzy” and vowing to try to form a government even if his party came second.
The progressive, environmentalist Greens made significant gains compared to the 2017 election, but fell short of having a viable shot at the chancellor.
On the outer edge of the political spectrum, support for the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AFD, appeared almost unchanged, while the Left appeared to be hovering over the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats in parliament.