Parliamentary elections in Germany: No new chancellor today

Written by on September 24, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Parliamentary elections in Germany: No new chancellor today

Far more than 60 million Germans are eligible to vote today. Everyone actually has two votes: The first one is for the candidates in the electoral district, the second and more important one is for the parties.

For example, a conservative voter living in Hamburg’s Eimsbüttel quarter would probably vote for Rüdiger Kruse, who is the local candidate for Angela Merkel’s party CDU. With his or her second vote, this person would likely choose the CDU. This one would count for the “province list” of candidates of that particular party.

The head of government, called chancellor in Germany, will actually not be voted for today. The new parliament will do so, at some point down the road, once the outcome of the elections has been digested, and once coalition talks have lead to success.

Hours before the elections, all parties on the ballots completed their campaigns. Chancellor Angela Merkel did so on Friday night at Munich’s Marienplatz, where hundreds of protesters gave her a whistling concert, as she stood on a large podium with Horst Seehofer, the leader of the CDU’s sister party CSU.

“By whistling and shouting, Germany’s future will not be shaped”, Merkel told her listeners.

Martin Schulz, the Social Democrats’ (SPD) top candidate, was on the last leg of his campaign tour in Nuremberg and Berlin. Things were not easy for him, since he was forced to distance himself from the head of the Grand Coalition his party is part of, Angela Merkel.

“It’s not my fault that (Mrs. Merkel) will always parrot whatever we say”, Schulz said. That one sentence actually described the main issue the SPD was facing during the campaign. Up until the era of Helmut Kohl, the Social Democrats were the major center-left force. Today, Mrs. Merkel gets credited for their policies.

Hours before the election, many German voters, close to one third of them, did not know yet if they were going to vote today, or which candidates and parties they would support. The party campaigns tried to convince those 20 million potential voters of their agendas.

The four smaller parties which, according to the latest polls, will make it into the Bundestag, fought for the third place as long as they could. They are the Liberals, the Greens, the Left and the “Alternative for Germany”, or Afd, which will be part of the parliament for the first time.

While many Germans are quite nervous, since the far-right AfD might end up with a two-digit result, Manfred Güllner, the boss of the polling institute Forsa, predicted a quick end to the phenomenon. He told the “Welt” daily, far-right groups of this kind had always destroyed themselves after a while. This would happen to the AfD too.

Güllner did confirm what most German media had said about the AfD’s nature all along: “They are radical right wingers from head to toe, including their programme, their candidates and their voters.”

Many undecided voters went for a “Wahl-O-Mat”, a website which asks users a few questions regarding their opinions on issues, and then tells them what parties they might be close to.

Whatever happens today will be discussed thoroughly, starting tonight, when the polling stations close at 6 pm local time (7 pm in Sofia, this publication’s base). Democratic candidates and parties will also accuse each other of everything, including paving the way for the AfD to hit the Bundestag.

In theory, a lot might happen, including the weirdest coalitions. But there is one single aspect the Germans and the world can rely on: The new chancellor will be the old one, Angela Merkel.

More articles on the parliamentary elections in Germany:

Parliamentary elections in Germany: Mama against mama’s little helper

Parliamentary elections in Germany: The parties and their programmes

The return of the Ugly German

 

 

 

 

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com