Germany’s Leftists Beat Merkel’s Conservatives In Election


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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent

(Worthy News) – ’s center-left Social Democrats (SPD) have claimed victory in the federal parliamentary election in a significant political turnaround. The outcome came as a setback for the party of outgoing Chancellor , who ruled Germany for 16 years.

Supporters celebrated as official results showed the SPD won nearly 26 percent of the vote. That was almost two percent more than the block led by the Democratic Union (CDU) of outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

SPD leader Olaf Scholz told reporters he had a clear mandate to form a government and become Germany’s next chancellor. “I think that the people in Germany want the Christian Democratic Union in opposition. This is their result now and what they decided during this election,” he stressed.

However, his rival Armin Laschet remained determined to fight on. “Of course, this is a loss of votes that isn’t pretty,” Laschet said of his party’s worst showing since 1949. But he added that with Merkel departing after 16 years in power, “no one had an incumbent bonus in this election.”

He told supporters that “we will do everything we can to form a government under the Union’s leadership.” However, he adds that Germany now needs a coalition for the future that modernizes our country on issues such as climate change and finances.”

On the streets of the capital Berlin, not everyone agrees. “I am delighted with the results. However, I think it’s essential that we move towards a change,” a man said. In his view, “Germany could not continue the way it did after 16 years under Angela Merkel.”

NATIONWIDE MOVE

The nationwide move towards the left came amid concerns among left-leaning voters about the perceived slow move towards adopting
climate-change measures. Spreading the wealth of ’s largest more equally appeared another reason.

Merkel’s decision to welcome more than a million refugees from , , , and elsewhere in 2015 and 2016 also raised
concern among, mainly right-wing voters.

However, it also changed the lives of those seeking refuge with families even named their newborn children after the chancellor
in gratitude.

The outcome also showed that the environmentalist Greens came third with 14 percent, followed by the pro-business Free Democrats with nearly 12 percent. Both parties signaled that they were willing to discuss forging a three-way alliance with either of their two bigger rivals to form a government.

The anti-migration far-right Alternative for Germany came fourth in Sunday’s vote with just over 10 percent. In comparison, the ex-Communist Left party took nearly five percent.

Voters complained, however, about reports that many polling station workers didn’t turn up for work. Some also fear the results will mark
the beginning of lengthy coalition talks at a time when the ’s most influential nation needs a clear direction.

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