SPD wins German election with narrow margin over Merkel's party

The Greens and the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) will be key to forming a government

 -   Bundestag

Olaf Scholz's Social Democratic Party (SPD) has won the German elections with 25.7% of the vote, slightly ahead of the coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU), led by Armin Laschet, who both won 24.1% of the vote. Angela Merkel's party has lost almost 8 points compared to the last elections, achieving its worst result since the Second World War.

At the other extreme are the Greens, who have achieved the best results in their history. The party led by Annalena Baerbock obtained third place in the elections with 14.8% of the vote, compared to 8.9% in 2017.

The Greens, together with the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP), which won 11.5 % of the vote, are the key to the formation of the government. The most likely outcome is the so-called "traffic light" coalition, made up of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. However, a Jamaica coalition of the CDU/CSU, the Greens and the FDP is also possible. 

For his part, SPD candidate Scholz is already presenting himself as Merkel's future successor. "Of course, I am happy with the election results. Many voters have made it clear that they want a change in the government and that the next chancellor should be Olaf Scholz". In this respect, Scholz said that the consultations to form a new government should be completed before Christmas. "It would be absurd to give an exact date, but we must do everything possible to ensure that we are ready before Christmas, although a little earlier would also be good," the Social Democrat told DPA. 

By contrast, Armin Laschet has called for a coalition "against a left-wing government". "We will do everything in our power to form a federal government led by the Union," he said.

Annalena Baerbock, one of the election day winners, has already announced that her party is open to negotiate with any political party, except the far right, which obtained 10.4% of the votes. Despite the success of the Greens, Baerbock has acknowledged failures during the campaign. "We wanted more, but the party got it wrong. I made mistakes," he said. He pledged to "keep fighting" for a green government. According to a poll by Europe Elects, the Greens were the force with the most support among young people under 30. 

After the close election result, negotiations will begin to shape the next government of the EU's largest economy. These consultations may be even more complex than those that took place after the 2017 elections. Merkel needed almost six months to form a coalition government. 

Meanwhile, Olaf Scholz said on Monday that the position of his conservative rival, Armin Laschet, is in opposition and confirmed his willingness to form a coalition with the Greens and the Freedom Party (FDP).

"The CDU and CSU have not only suffered heavy losses but have also received the message from the electorate that they must go into opposition," said Scholz, before entering a meeting of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) to discuss the situation. "Our job now is to apply pragmatism and leadership to the task of forming a government," he added, to which end he intends to initiate contacts with the Greens and Liberals, as reported by the EFE news agency.