The elections in Germany didn’t produce much in the way of surprises, with Chancellor Angela Merkel relatively easily cruising to victory, though by a noticeably slimmer margin than last time. The real news coming out of that contest wasn’t the overall winner, but rather the shifts in support for the rest of the players and the shrinking of Merkel’s ruling coalition.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, victorious in national elections but wounded by a fall in support for her party and a sharp rise for the far right, faced the complex task Monday of cobbling together a government for her fourth and final term.
The Sunday vote left Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) well ahead of all other parties in the race for the German Parliament, known as the Bundestag.
But the party’s support fell well short of the mark it set four years ago, and her coalition partner, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), faced a similarly steep decline.
The two biggest surprises came from the left and right wings of German politics respectively. On the right, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which has been fighting Merkel’s open border policies and opposing the ongoing Islamist leaning shift in their nation, outperformed their poll numbers and took roughly 13%. They will now be represented in the Bundestag, the first time a right wing party has managed the feat in more than fifty years.
From the left there was a very different sort of surprise. First of all, Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) had a reliable partner in the equally center left Social Democrats (SPD). But the SDU not only lost quite a few seats themselves, but announced that they would not be partnering with Merkel to form the new coalition government. That leaves Merkel stuck with forming a new alliance with the far left Free Democrats and the Green Party. Those of you who were following our coverage of the Austrian elections last year may recognize this pattern. When right wing candidate Norbert Hofer came within inches of overturning the ruling coalition, they had to throw together a new alliance and a far left, Green Party candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen, wound up becoming President. That was a case of politics making odd bedfellows to be sure, and the results of that race shook up Austrian politics in a way which is still reverberating.
There’s one other interesting observation to make regarding the German elections. The folks at Conservative Treehouse pointed out that Merkel’s level of support dropped. That’s not news. But her final numbers actually came in worse than President Trump’s latest level of support.
Headlines you won’t see in the U.S. media. According to the latest media report Angela Merkel has won reelection but only garnered 32.9% of the vote (2013 election was 41.5%).
This means in victory Angela Merkel has less support in Germany than Donald Trump has in the U.S. However, don’t expect that reality to stop the global leftist media from selling a narrative of optical success surrounding Merkel’s election. Too funny.
Considering the less than charitable stance that Merkel has taken toward the White House at various points this year, this might give her pause to reflect. Then again, to be fair, the Chancellor’s numbers tend to drift back up after a bruising election fight so it could be a temporary condition. Check back in with us around the first of the year and we should have a better idea as to how well her new coalition is going over in Germany.