25 9 / 2013

Chancellor Angela Merkel was the clear winner of Sunday’s federal election in Germany. It was the best result for her CDU party since the early 90s. 

Nevertheless, she failed to get an absolute majority of seats in the Bundestag, so she will need a new coalition partner. The outgoing one, the FDP, did not make it past the five percent threshold and will no longer be represented in parliament. 

The only reasonable choice is a return to the ‘grand’ coalition with the Social Democrats: Merkel already led a CDU-SPD government from 2005-2009. 

It’s unlikely that the remaining two parties, the Greens and the Leftists will even want a coalition with the Christian Democrats and it’s not exactly an attractive option for Merkel, either. The SPD will be wary, too, the last grand coalition has not endeared it to its core supporters. 

Merkel would be a much more overbearing senior partner than last time with clear political risks for the Social Democrats. So, it might take a while before that partnership comes together.

Germany’s political landscape has been changing and is likely to continue to develop in somewhat unpredictable ways. Will the Free Democrats be able to return from oblivion, will the malaise of the Greens continue? Will the anti-euro AfD be a force to be reckoned with in the future? Clearly, the SPD wants to return to the 40 percent margin they achieved under Gerhard Schröder in 1998. 

Germany’s neighbors and allies will be watching closely since Berlin’s influence in Europe is at its highest in decades and Angela Merkel will continue to direct the European Union’s economic engine.