German Election: Four More Years of Merkel

Merkel

It’s good news and bad news for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The good news: The results of Sunday’s election are in and she won! The bad news: The results of Sunday’s election are in and she fell just short of a majority, which means… COALITION TALKS.

It was a big victory for Merkel, whose conservative bloc scored its best result in 23 years, winning 41.5 percent of the vote. But at the end of the day they were five seats short of a majority in the lower house. And since Merkel’s conservative government didn’t quite make the majority threshold, they will have to form a coalition government with her rivals. Her LEFTIST rivals!

Since Merkel’s partners of choice, the pro-business Free Democrats, won only 4.8 percent of the vote, effectively barring them from obtaining parliamentary seats, a coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), who won 25.7% of the vote, is seen as most likely – but it will take some hard bargaining. The Social Democrats are expected to play some good old fashioned hardball this time – demanding high profile cabinet posts and policy changes. Why? Their supporters are getting sick and tired of the party teaming up with Merkel -like they did in both 2005 and 2009. The SPD suffered a big drop in its electoral support in 2009 after their increasingly alienated base grew weary of always looking like the junior partner in Merkel’s coalition.

SPD leader Peer Steinbrueck clashed with Merkel during the lead up to the election, mainly over economic issues. The centre-left party argued for a national minimum wage and higher taxes on the wealthy and criticized Merkel’s economic austerity drive, saying Germany was too hard on its EU partners in southern Europe. Merkel disagrees, arguing that her election victory is proof that Germans are pro-austerity measures and anti-heavily indebted countries (Greece…).

At a news conference following her win Merkel said that “our European policy course will not change”.

So Merkel’s got her work cut out for her… but she’s got some time – several weeks of negotiations are expected before a new government is formed.

On the bright side, at least she’s still able to govern after winning 41.5% of the vote. I know a certain environmentalist who got the boot after winning the popular vote… damn electoral colleges.

Via: The National Post

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