German political parties bargain to determine next government

The struggle over control of Germany’s next government has begun among the four parties that received the most votes following parliamentary elections.

Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD) beat Chancellor Angela Merkel’s outgoing Christian Democrats (CDU) 25.8 percent over 24.1 percent. This caused the conservative party to suffer its worst defeat ever.

But because neither side won enough votes to control the Bundestag, parliament’s lower house, they had to team up with the third-most-voted Green Party, which got 14.8 percent of the vote, and the fourth-most-vote-winning Free Democrats (FDP) who pro- business with 11.5 percent of the vote.

The Green Party and the FDP, Tuesday (28/9) agreed to meet first before discussing with the SPD or CDU. A photo released to the media shows Green party candidate Annalena Baerbock with FDP leader Christian Lindner.

While the two parties have some things in common, they have traditionally come from opposing ideological camps and have different approaches to economic issues and the fight against climate change.

In briefing with a number of journalists on Wednesday (29/9), both sides stated that they had scheduled meetings with the SPD and CDU, as well as meetings among themselves.

Traditionally, however, the Greens have been more inclined to sympathize with the centre-left SPD, and the FDP more aligned with the more conservative CDU, and their leadership indicated Wednesday that this has not changed.

At his own press conference, Green Party leader Baerbock said it was important to first meet with the SPD, which won the election, but he also stressed that they would meet with all parties. [mg/jm]

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