A Decisive Decision for the Future of Germany

By Original Author - Furfur [CC BY-SA 4.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


By Original Author - Furfur [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Austin Liu, News Editor, Reporter

In the past couple of weeks, the German people participated in a national election involving 38 political parties for the office of Chancellor and to choose the new 19th Bundestag of the country, one of the two legislative bodies of the German government. The election, which was organized to happen on Sep. 24, 2017, brought results that reveal the direction of the path that the German people are taking in the years of the future.

At the end of the election, The Guardian reported that the incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel representing the conservative CDU/CSU (a combination and union of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union) party won the overall election another time, receiving 32.9 percent of the vote of the people, despite not winning the election by a majority of the votes. The party also won about 34.7 percent of the seats in the Bundestag. However, in this election, the party’s support dropped by 8.6 percent from the past election.

The centre-left German political party, the SPD (the Social Democratic party), who chose Martin Schulz as their candidate, won the second most amount of the German vote with 20.5 percent of the vote. This party won the second most number of seats, 21.6 percent of them, in the Bundestag. However, this party also lost some of its support from the past election which decreased by 5.2 percent.

Less popular political parties in this election, the Populist-right AfD (the Alternative for Germany) represented by Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland and the Pro-business FDP (the Free Democratic Party) represented by Christian Lindner won 12.6 percent and 10.7 percent of the popular vote of the German people. The AfD party won 13.3 percent of the seats in the Bundestag, and the FDP won 11.3 percent of the seats in the Bundestag. These two parties, unlike the two most popular parties in this year’s election, gained support from their percentage of the vote they received from the past election: the AfD gaining support by 7.9 percent and the FDP gaining support by 6 percent.

Another two of the political parties that participated in this election that managed to earn a measurable number of the popular vote count were the radical left Left Party whose candidates were Sahra Wagenknecht and Dietmar Bartsch who collected 9.2 percent of the vote and the ecopolitical Green Party supported by their candidates Katrin Göring-Eckardt and Cem Özdemir who won 8.9 percent of the popular vote. Regarding the representation of the two parties in the Bundestag, the Left Party claimed 9.7 percent of the seats while the Green Party took 9.4 percent of the seats. Both the Left Party and the Green Party gained slightly more support this election from the one before: the Left Party with a gain of 0.6 percent and the Green Party with a gain of 0.5 percent.

Although another 32 parties ran for these government offices this election, many of the other parties received a very few percentage of the popular vote and acquired few seats in the Bundestag. These include the Free Voters Party, the PARTY Party, the Human Environment Animal Protection Party, and the National Democratic Party.

In reflection of the results and the decisions of the German people, much of the politics of the country has not changed very much. However, this election is considered a turning point in the direction of the future path the German people have decided to take, especially for the winning CDU Party.

As written by BBC News, Merkel’s performance as the CDU Party’s candidate in this election was the “party’s worst performance with her as leader and overnight Germany’s political scene has changed…Angela Merkel has secured a fourth term, but she knows she has presided over the CDU’s worst electoral performance since 1949.”

The parties who progressed forward were nationalist ones, mainly the AfD and the FDP parties. Both oppose many of the decisions of Merkel and wish to investigate her actions including Germany’s refugee situation. Already this year, the applications from refugees for refuge in Germany have decreased significantly from about 750,000 in 2016 to 111,000 this year.

For Germany, the future seems unclear in relations to which side of the political spectrum will lead in the next election. As Lindner, candidate of the FDP Party during his campaign this national election, stated, “Mal sehen” or “We will see”, a phrase that still applies to the country now and for the future decisions.

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