Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition has won the German elections. Sort of. Deutsche-Welle reports:
Angela Merkel has won a fourth term, but official results have shown she’ll have a “tough road” for coalition talks. While the CDU remains the largest party, the far-right AfD will be the third biggest political force.
With all 299 constituencies reporting, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party the CSU came out ahead in Germany’s national election on Sunday, with 33 percent of the vote.
Rival Social Democrats (SPD) led by Martin Schulz tumbled to a mere 20.5 percent, while the Green and Left parties remained about the same as they did in 2013, each with 8.9 and 9.2 percent, respectively.
The only real success stories of the night were for the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). After failing to make the 5-percent hurdle to enter the Bundestag last time around, the FDP managed a 10.7 percent to cement its comeback.
As for the populist AfD, a remarkable showing of 12.6 percent means that Germany will have a far-right party in parliament for the first time in more than half a century.
In the coming days and weeks you are likely to read all sorts of claptrap about the German elections written by people who know better. Americans’ instincts for elections other than our own tend to be poor.
Germany does not have a “winner take all” system like ours. They have a multi-party parliamentary system. Each German voter votes twice: once for the “direct candidates” in their districts who must win by a plurality and the second time for a slate of candidates, the party list, in the province. Half of the Bundestag is composed of the direct candidates, the other half elected from the party lists.
I’m sure that some of those who voted for the Allianz für Deutschland (AfD) the Alliance for Germany, are in fact neo-Nazis but I also believe that most of those who turned out to vote for it were protest voters, unhappy with Angela Merkel’s de facto open borders program. They’re concerned about their jobs; Germany doesn’t have an unemployment program but it has a serious underemployment problem. Jobs are being divided into multiple microjobs. They’re also concerned that Germany is becoming de-Germanized. Treating those protest voters as though they were the same as the neo-Nazis will not rebuild the strength of the middle parties. Does any of this sound familiar?
That wasn’t the way the “European project” was supposed to work. They thought it would mean Europe becoming Germanized. Not only is that not happening but they’re worried that Germany is becoming de-Europeanized. AfD’s capturing nearly 13% of the Bundestag where it had previously held no seats shows which way the wind is blowing.
Expect the junior partners to Angela Merkel’s Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands, Christian Democratic Union Party, (CDU) to press their advantage in forming a new coalition government.
The editors of the Wall Street Journal on the German elections:
This is a very German protest vote: safe. The AfD struggled for most of the campaign season, and its home-stretch surge owes to two factors. A television debate between Mrs. Merkel and her SPD challenger, Martin Schulz, this month highlighted how little the two major parties compete with each other. And polls showing Mrs. Merkel steamrolling her opponents reassured voters they could cast a ballot for the AfD without handing the party real power.
with which I agree but this:
The message is that Germans want competition. The AfD draws support from voters on both left and right who are disillusioned with 12 years of Mrs. Merkel’s bland-as-she-goes leadership, and with the SPD’s failure to oppose her for eight of those years when it formed coalitions with her.
Nah. Take the results at face value. A significant number of Germans want fewer Middle Eastern immigrants.