A woman voted with her son in the CDU in downtown Berlin on Sunday. Many voters in the conservative party may be happy with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s win, but they still voted for their preferred party of work-life balance and the status quo. Photo by Kirsten Neumann/AFP/Getty Images
The results from the German election are in, and they are a huge blow to Angela Merkel’s party. The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party have garnered a measly 28.8 percent of the vote, with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) earning nearly 13 percent, making it the largest opposition party in Germany.
The loss is a surprise — polls in recent weeks predicted Merkel’s party to win around 30 percent of the vote. But in fact, party supporters are turning against the chancellor in large numbers. Just 19 percent of those who voted for the CDU last year said they would re-support the party this time around, while in 2017, when Merkel won a fourth term as party leader, 73 percent said they would cast their vote for the CDU again.
That drop could soon be an obstacle for Merkel as she begins to form a coalition government. Before that, she’ll likely have to face off against four other party leaders to form a government. According to conservative newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, only eight of the eight party leaders are planning to vote for Merkel and their colleagues, Leif-Erik Holm and Klaus Wowereit, are in disagreement on whether to form a government with Merkel’s party. Vice Chancellor and Environmental Minister for the Social Democratic Party (SPD) Bjorn Hocke is in favor of forming a coalition with the Greens, leaving Merkel’s party with a cluster of conservatives (Jusos) and a very vocal party leader (Jean-Luc Melenchon) that she doesn’t seem to want to have to contend with.
Those who voted for the CDU and its sister party in 2017 are not only turned off by Merkel’s incumbent style and performance, they’re angry that they voted for a party whose leader has plunged Germany into Europe’s most precarious migrant crisis in recent memory. In May, CDU supporters revolted against her when they opted to choose an outsider, and a surprising one at that, over her as party leader at the party’s leadership election. The East German born environmentalist Christian Lindner succeeded Merkel. In her acceptance speech, Lindner promised to start a better start to Germany’s Fourth Reich, using phrases like “who will establish the new order that was lost?” as he accused his opposition of “destroying its own traditions and borders.”
But besides the obvious problems facing Merkel, the other person watching the election results closely is Christian Le Pen, the far-right leader of France’s National Front. Despite winning under 3 percent of the vote, Le Pen was able to use the result in Germany to gain attention on a broader European level. Her voters are likely cheering Merkel’s loss, but that is likely not how France and Europe will benefit from it. At this point, Le Pen has already demonstrated that he has few weaknesses that can be exploited through Western policies.
Read the full story at Reuters.
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