Sunday, September 22, 2013

Germany's Merkel Coasts To Re-Election With Huge Majority

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has won an historic third term as her Christian Democratic party (CDU) is on track to win 301 seats in the 598-seat Bundestag, enough to form a government without needing a coalition partner to govern.

The Social democrats (SDU) are behind by over 17 points, 25.45% of the vote to the CDU's 42.50%, although this could change slightly. Merkel's current center Right coalition partners, the Free Democrats (FDP), are likely headed for a major loss with just 4.7 per cent of yesterday’s vote, according to the exit poll. If their numbers stay there, they won't even cross the threshold to enter the Bundestag.

A lot of the FDP's votes went to the anti-EU Alternative für Deutschland (AfD, a brand new party that might get into the Bundestag on its first try, with 4.9% and rising. They'd only need 5% to hit the threshold.

The far Left Greens, who caused Merkel all kinds of trouble in her last coalition look to end up with about 8.40%, a loss of over 2% from the last election. They'll be in the Bundestag, but Merkel might not need them to govern in a coalition and if she does, like the SDU their influence would be curtailed after these election results. If the CDU does bring them into government (and it's certainly possible if the SDU declines to enter a coalition with Merkel) there might have to be changes after leading Green Party member Jürgen Trittin was implicated in the Greens' ongoing pedophilia scandal during the campaign that has its roots in the Greens' support for sex with minors that dates back to its early days in the 1980s. The Greens simply aren't very popular right now.

That said, the most likely coalition would be a center Left Right Coalition between the CDU and the Social Democratic Party, who will likely swallow their pride in order to be in government - especially if they got some decent ministries out of it.

Why did Angela Merkel win so big? Two words, competence and trust. Germany is an Island of prosperity in a Europe of financial instability, and Merkel - known as Mutti, 'Mom' to many Germans - gets the credit for steering th3e country through rocky waters in difficult circumstances. Germany's unemployment rate is only 6.8 percent compared with an average of 12.1 percent in the 17-nation euro zone.Over 70% of Germans approve of the job she's doing, and the pastor's Daughter from East Germany is a trusted leader they feel they can rely on.

She's noted for projecting calm and for her ability to seek consensus even with widely divergent groups, something that resonates deeply with Germans. They feel the country's in good hands with her.

This election was simply a huge vote of confidence for Merkel.It's that simple.

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