The outcome of the legislative elections in Germany has brought changes in the membership of the federal parliament
"Europe needs a strong German government now more than ever" said the European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker in a congratulation letter addressed to Chancellor Angela Merkel, who secured her fourth term following September 24th legislative elections. The outcome of the elections brought changes in the membership of the federal parliament. According to the final results, the conservatives are the big winners, with 33% of the votes, although this means 8.5% less than in 2013.
Professor Ioan Bogdan Lefter, a guest on Radio Romania, drew up the political picture of post-election Germany:
"The Social - Democrats came second, with less than 20%, which makes their capacity to influence the governing process rather dim. They might not be part of the government, as we know that there used to be a large coalition in Germany, made up of the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats, but the latter have announced, through the voice of Martin Schultz, that they are no longer willing to be part of that coalition. Next came the four parties that gather 40% of the votes, and which complicate a bit the political game. The far right Alliance for Germany's entering Parliament had been expected. Then, there are the Liberals, the Free Democratic Party, the Greens and the leftists from Die Linke. The Liberals and the Greens in particular share certain compatibilities with the Christian Democratic Union and probably this is the area where a coalition will be established. It will not be easy, as there are divergences there too, but this is what governing will look like in the coming four years."
The Christian - Democratic Union has secured for itself the largest number of seats, but the bitter taste of the poorest elections results since 1949 remains. Martin Schultz's Socialists, who have got the lowest score in their entire history, announced right after the closing of the polling stations, that they would get into the opposition. The leader of the Social Democratic Party believes, though, that the most depressing fact is the strengthening of the Alternative for Germany. "This is a turning point" said Schultz, who, including as president of the European Parliament, has been a constant supporter of the pro-migration policy promoted by Chancellor Merkel.
Here is professor Ioan Bogdan Lefter again:
"The elections were rather calm, and the results predictable. The biggest problems now are the formation of a coalition and facing the presence in Parliament of the far right wing. I should say, though, that the share is not that big; the message is worrying, but the percentage is not as big as to put the German democracy in danger. We will see what happens. Mrs. Merkel remains a big leader and she will continue to play a major role in Germany, in the EU, and also at global level."
There are talks underway for the formation of the new government, but analysts say that negotiations will really start after October 15th, when the Conservatives hope to win the local elections in Lower Saxony. One step towards forming a new coalition could be the Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble's decision to accept the office of speaker of the lower chamber of Parliament. This decision opened the path towards allowing another political party to designate a holder of the portfolio left vacant. This is by no means negligible, given that the Free Democratic Party, for instance, has already announced its intention to get the ministry in order to join the coalition led by Angela Merkel. News agencies recall that Wolfgang Schaeuble became one of the most influential European politicians during the Eurozone debt crisis, and the chancellor hopes that his authority will render the office of Bundestag president more visible, allowing for a better control of the factions in the lower chamber of parliament. But how relevant are the results of the German elections outside the country's borders.
Ioan Bogdan Lefter once again:
"The first thing we could say is that Germany's stability is useful to the entire EU and to the whole planet, after all. We are talking about the stability of a country that has been doing very well in the past years, especially since Mrs. Merkel has been chancellor. It's been a strong, stable economy, in a country that has been a role model, the main political force in the Euroatlantic and global context, which has requested, imposed, pleaded and insisted for and eventually obtained results from the austerity policies that brought balance into the economies hit by the big financial crisis."
At the same time, according to professor Lefter, we shouldn't forget about Berlin's role as main negotiating force, as well as powerful decision maker in serious cases relating to the EU's recent policy, such as the situation in Greece and migration.