23 September 2013

German Federal Elections 2013

Andrea Merkel only continues in office after the September 2013 German federal elections because of disunity among the left of centre.

So Angela Merkel has won the German elections by a landslide – or so the media are telling us. It is indeed true that Merkel’s CDU – along with its Bavarian sister party the CSU – have won just under 42 percent of the vote. But under Germany’s system of proportional representation, they are five seats short of an overall majority.

Merkel’s liberal coalition partner, the FDP, failed to re-enter parliament, and a newly formed right-wing eurosceptic party also just failed to reach the five percent threshold, thus leaving Merkel’s party as the only party of the right in the Bundestag.

The SPD scored a miserable 26 percent of the vote, aping Labour’s 2010 General Election performance. The Left Party picked up just under nine percent, losing a quarter of its percentage vote compared with 2009, but taking third place, and pushing the Greens (8,5%) into fourth.

Yet look at the maths. Merkel has 311 seats in the Bundestag. The SPD, Left Party and the Greens together have 319, and seen like that the left side has actually won, yet the Left Party’s commitment to socialist policies makes them untouchable for the SPD and Greens.

So Merkel will carry on - either with a minority administration or with the SPD as its junior coalition partner.

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