Berlin, 27 September 2021 (dpa/MIA) — Four German political parties were positioning themselves to enter coalition talks on Monday, just hours after a final vote count showed a narrow victory for the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) over the country’s incumbent conservative alliance.
The SPD captured 25.7 percent, its best result in years, while the conservative CDU/CSU bloc of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel fell to a record low of 24.1 percent after her four consecutive terms in office.
Both main candidates to be the next German chancellor, Olaf Scholz of the SPD and Armin Laschet of the Christian Democrats (CDU), say they want to form the next government.
Scholz has a better chance of doing so, but the German constitution does provide for the party with the second-largest vote share to head a government.
Laschet was fighting for political survival on Monday, with commentators saying that support for his leadership was waning fast within the ranks of the conservative bloc after a troubled campaign that saw it slump to its worst-ever result.
Two other political parties are potential kingmakers – the environmentalist Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), which took 14.8 percent and 11.5 percent, respectively.
In order to avoid another grand coalition like the one currently governing with Merkel at the helm, the CDU/CSU and the SPD will have to convince both the Greens and the FDP — which have very different political agendas — to join them in a three-way coalition.
Representatives of the Greens and the FDP were expected to come together to find common ground ahead of formal coalition talks with the two larger parties.
The next Cabinet will be the first in 16 years not led by Merkel. The transition, which could take weeks or even months, is a historic one.