...

Closely fought German election ushers in post-Merkel era




  • In World
  • 2021-09-26 06:08:54Z
  • By Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) - German voters are choosing a new parliament in an election that will determine who succeeds Chancellor Angela Merkel after her 16 years at the helm of Europe's biggest economy.

Polls point to a very close race Sunday between Merkel's center-right Union bloc, with state governor Armin Laschet running for chancellor, and the center-left Social Democrats, for whom outgoing finance minister and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz is seeking the top job.

Recent surveys show the Social Democrats marginally ahead. The environmentalist Greens, with candidate Annalena Baerbock, are making their first run for the chancellery, and polls put them several points behind in third place.

The Social Democrats have been boosted by Scholz's relative popularity after a long poll slump, and by his rivals' troubled campaigns. Baerbock suffered from early gaffes and Laschet, the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia state, has struggled to motivate his party's traditional base.

About 60.4 million people in the nation of 83 million are eligible to elect the new Bundestag, or lower house of parliament, which will elect the next head of government.

No party is expected to come anywhere near an outright majority. Polls show support for all of them below 30%.

Such a result could mean that many governing coalitions are mathematically possible, and trigger weeks or months of haggling to form a new government. Until it is in place, Merkel will remain in office on a caretaker basis.

Scholz said as he voted in Potsdam, just outside Berlin, that he hopes voters "will make possible ... a very strong result for the Social Democrats, and that citizens will give me the mandate to become the next chancellor of Germany."

Merkel has won plaudits for steering Germany through several major crises. The new chancellor will have to tend the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, which Germany so far has weathered relatively well thanks to large rescue programs that have incurred new debt.

Laschet insists there should be no tax increases as Germany pulls out of the pandemic. Scholz and Baerbock favor tax hikes for the richest Germans, and also back an increase in the minimum wage.

Germany's leading parties have significant differences in their proposals for tackling climate change. Laschet's Union bloc is pinning its hopes on technological solutions and a market-driven approach, while the Greens want to ramp up carbon prices and end the use of coal earlier than planned. Scholz has emphasized the need to protect jobs as Germany transitions to greener energy.

Foreign policy hasn't featured much in the campaign, though the Greens favor a tougher stance toward China and Russia.

In Berlin, Wiebke Bergmann, a 48-year-old social worker, said Merkel's departure makes this a "really special" election.

"I really thought hard about which candidate I want as next chancellor - until this morning I hadn't made up my mind. None of the three really convinced me," Bergmann added. "All seem fine as human beings, but I'm not sure they can do a good job as next chancellor."

In the capital's Kreuzberg district, a traditional leftwing stronghold, Jan Kemper, a 41-year-old manager at an online bank, said climate change and Germany's slow pace of digitalization were among his main concerns. He praised Merkel's crisis management style, but said key issues were left unattended.

"Previously, elections set the course for the next two to four years," he said. "Now decisions have to be made that will affect the next generations."

As they have struggled in polls, Laschet and other Union leaders have warned that Scholz and the Greens would form a coalition with the opposition Left Party, which opposes NATO and German military deployments abroad. Whether such a partnership is realistic is questionable, given foreign policy and other differences between the parties, but that line of attack may help turn out the conservative base.

Scholz has said he'd like a two-party coalition with the Greens, but that looks very optimistic. Absent a majority for that, his first choice would likely be an alliance with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats.

A coalition with those two parties is also Laschet's likeliest route to power. The Greens favor an alliance with the Social Democrats, while the Free Democrats prefer one with the Union.

The result may also allow a repeat of the outgoing "grand coalition" of the traditional big parties, the Union and Social Democrats, under either Scholz or Laschet.

The far-right Alternative for Germany party is polling a little below the 12.6% it won to enter parliament in 2017, but won't feature in any new government this time either. All other parties say they won't work with it.

The Bundestag has at least 598 seats, but Germany's complex voting system means that it can be considerably larger. The outgoing parliament had a record 709 seats and the new one is widely expected to be even bigger.

The number of people voting by postal ballot is expected to be higher than the 28.6% who did so four years ago. Also Sunday, voters in Berlin and in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in northeastern Germany - both states currently led by the Social Democrats - are electing new state legislatures.

___

Kirsten Grieshaber and Karin Laub contributed to this report.

___

Follow AP's coverage of Germany's election at https://apnews.com/hub/germany-election

COMMENTS

More Related News

Climate activists rally to pressure post-Merkel government
Climate activists rally to pressure post-Merkel government
  • World
  • 2021-10-22 12:21:23Z

Thousands of young climate activists massed in Berlin on Friday to press the likely successors to outgoing chancellor Angela Merkel's government to do more...

"Danke schön!" EU leaders, Obama give Merkel big sendoff
"Danke schön!" EU leaders, Obama give Merkel big sendoff
  • US
  • 2021-10-22 12:14:47Z

Angela Merkel is still Germany's Chancellor, and might be still when European Union leaders meet again, yet they gave her a big farewell party at Friday's EU...

Campaigners stage climate protests across continents
Campaigners stage climate protests across continents
  • US
  • 2021-10-22 11:17:35Z

Environmental campaigners staged protests on several continents Friday to press their demands for more government action to curb global warming ahead of the ...

German COVID-19 cases jump as state leaders seek federal backing
German COVID-19 cases jump as state leaders seek federal backing
  • US
  • 2021-10-22 09:41:46Z

BERLIN (Reuters) -A key measure of coronavirus infections in Germany rose sharply over the past week, figures showed on Friday, raising the prospect of...

Auf Wiedersehen: Merkel attends her swan song EU summit - probably
Auf Wiedersehen: Merkel attends her swan song EU summit - probably
  • US
  • 2021-10-21 15:10:53Z

European Union leaders will pause their meeting in Brussels on Thursday for a farewell photograph with Angela Merkel, who is attending what could be the last...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

  • jack
    (2021-09-27 03:41:10Z)

    General food thermometer can also be used to measure the temperature of barbecue, but not suitable for barbecue has a special door thermometer, called barbecue thermometer. This bbq termometer meat thermometer supplier has a triangular clip that holds the thermometer to the grill, making it easy to use without the hassle of carrying it around. And this thermometer is bimetal, durable, is a good choice for people to go out to barbecue at home.

    The product(nonionic surfactant Isomeric Alcohol Ethoxylates suppliers) has excellent emulsifying ability, high surface activity, resistance to hard water, good chemical stability in a wide PH range, synergistic effect with other surfactants, good environmental compatibility, less odor than C11 fatty alcohol ethoxide and tetrapolypropylene method C13 alcohol ethoxide

    OPEL Nitrogen Oxide Sensor
    Designed and developed with quality material, it is durable in use.
    Stable performance and high reliability, perfectly match to your car.
    Easy to install, can directly replace the old or broken sensor.
    Fit for Vauxhall NOX Nitrogen Sensor Position 2
    Position 2 Nitrogen Oxide Sensor.

    IEC 60794-4-1-22:2017 defines test procedures for establishing uniform environmental performance requirements for:
    1. Fibre optic cables for telecommunications equipment and equipment using similar technologies, and
    2. Cable with both optical fiber and wire.
    Fiber optic cable
    Throughout the document, the term "optical cable" may also include optical fiber units, microtubule fiber units, etc. For reference guidance on all types of test methods and general requirements and definitions, see IEC 60794-1-2. The second edition cancels and replaces the first edition published in 2012. This is a technical revision. The second edition includes the following major technical changes related to the previous edition:
    1. New test method, named F16-combined flow (drop)[E14 in IEC 60794-1-21];
    2. New test method F17- cable shrinkage test (fiber protrusion);
    3. New test method F18- mid-span temperature cycle test.

    lager Capacity trekking backpack supplier is one of the necessary equipment for outdoor mountaineering and hiking. Reasonable packaging method is not only convenient to take when using items, but also can save time and space, maximize the use of backpack space and reduce physical consumption.

    The safety wholesale retail display light with key SG-B2 series locks and unlocks doors with keys.
    When an operator takes a key into a hazardous area, the safety door switch will not lock, and the equipment will stop, ensuring operator safety by preventing personnel from being closed inside the hazardous area and preventing equipment from starting to operate.

    REPLY

Top News: World