Left-wing Social Democrats win narrow victory in Germany, Merkel steps down after 16 years

by sam

Samuel Case, FISM News


For the first time in 16 years Germany’s Angela Merkel will not lead the country, after deciding not to run for a fifth term. If a coalition government can be formed, Germany’s new chancellor will likely be Finance Minister and Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz after his left wing Social Democratic party won a narrow victory in Sunday’s election

The Social Democratic party won 25.7% of the vote, barely beating out Merkle’s more conservative bloc which received 24.1% of the vote. The Social Democrats under Scholz will now attempt to form a three-way alliance with the left leaning Green party and Free Democratic Party. 

“What you see here is a very happy SPD,” Scholz told his supporters at his party’s headquarters in Berlin. “The voters have very clearly spoken… They strengthened three parties – the Social Democrats, Greens and FDP – and therefore that is the clear mandate the citizens of this country have given – these three should form the next government.

If the liberal coalition succeeds and Scholz becomes chancellor it will be the first time in over a decade that the conservatives will be taking an opposition role in the government. Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING, told CNBC that it’s unlikely a coalition will form soon. 

“I don’t think we’re going to get it done quickly. In all honesty I don’t think we’re going to get a new government quickly,” Brzeski said, suggesting that Merkel may still be chancellor on December 17th, which would make her the longest serving German Chancellor.

Merkel will stay in her position as a caretaker role during the coalition negotiations.