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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Germany's mandate clock, voting for general elections

Votes are being cast to elect a new parliament in Germany. These elections will decide who will replace Angela Merkel, who is leaving her post after being Chancellor of Germany for 16 years. So far the situation is not clear who is going to form the next government. However, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) has a slight edge in the election polls.

Merkel's party CDU and its ally CSU could come second, while the third place could go to the Green Party. In such a situation, it is likely that even after the election results, intensive negotiations and bargaining will be required to form the new government. So it may take time to form a new government. In this election, Armin Lashet has been made the chancellor's candidate from the CDU-CSU, while he is contesting in the current government, Finance Minister and SPD Party's Olaf Schultz. The Green Party is contesting the election for the first time by fielding a chancellor candidate. The party has fielded Annalena Bayerbock as its candidate.


Lachette struggled to shore up her party's traditional base in the election campaign. On the other hand, the SPD party has benefited from the popularity of Olaf Schultz. After a long time, the party is being told in the first place in the election surveys. In the beginning, Barebock was leading a long way. But due to some of his mistakes, he had to suffer a lot in the last days. Germany, with a population of about 83 million, has a total of 60.4 million voters, who were electing the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament. This Parliament will elect the new government. After the Second World War in Germany, till date no single party has got a majority on its own.

Due to the proportional electoral system, the percentage of votes that the party gets, the more it is represented in the Parliament. To enter parliament, a party must secure five percent of the vote in an election. This time no party is getting more than 30 percent support in the election polls. This means that a coalition of two or more parties would be needed to achieve the 50 per cent figure required to form the government. Merkel will remain in her post until a new government is formed. Lachette promised in the election campaign that there would be no increase in taxes as Germany came out of the pandemic. On the other hand, Scholtz and Bearbock are talking about imposing higher taxes on the rich. They are also promising an increase in the minimum wage. At the end of the election campaign, Schultz on Friday praised Merkel's outgoing government and said it saved people's jobs during the pandemic. He is the Finance Minister in the government. In this way he patted himself on the back.

Lachette, on the other hand, promised to revitalize the economy. Merkel also praised Lachette, saying that she "builds bridges and takes everyone along".Other important parties participating in the election include the pro-business FDP, the far-right AFD and the left-wing De Linke. The AFD party is expected to get slightly less support than the 12.6 per cent votes it got in the last general election. But he is unlikely to join the new government. All the parties are talking about not forming an alliance with him. The Bundestag has a minimum of 598 seats, but the number of MPs keeps on increasing due to Germany's complex electoral system. The current parliament has 709 members. The Parliament that comes into existence after the election can have more members. AK/MJ (AP, Reuters).