Polls opened in Germany on Sunday morning to vote on the renewal of parliament, and consequently to decide who will become the next German chancellor in place of Angela Merkel. Judging by the polls made close to the vote, the electoral result could be more uncertain than expected, after the Christian Democratic Union (CDU, Merkel’s party, center-right) has recovered part of the disadvantage that divided it from the Social Democratic Party ( SPD).
The first exit polls will come out a few minutes after the polls close at 6 pm, but the official results could only come after several days. It could take several weeks to find out who will make up the next ruling coalition.
According to polls, Olaf Scholz, former finance minister and SPD candidate, is still the favorite over Armin Laschet, the CDU candidate, but the gap between the two has narrowed: according to Politico Europe, which averages all major polls, the SPD would have 25 percent of the vote versus the CDU’s 22 percent, a gap of only three points. Some polls made in recent days reduce it even further.
Electoral posters with Olaf Scholz (SPD), Annalena Baerbock (Verdi) and Armin Laschet (CDU) (AP Photo / Martin Meissner, File)
This could make things more complicated not only for Scholz, but also for the formation of a governing coalition. As the German electoral system is made, it is practically certain that to govern and choose a new chancellor it will be necessary to form a coalition between two or more parties, and the possible options are numerous.
German newspapers use the official party colors to name possible coalitions: the one considered most plausible in the event that the SPD gets first place in the seats is the so-called “traffic light coalition”, formed by SPD (red), from the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP, yellow) and the Greens. Other possibilities in the event of a victory for the SPD are a “red-red-green” coalition, with the SPD, the Die Linke party (the left) and the Greens.
If instead, somewhat surprisingly, the CDU turns out to be the first party, one possibility is the so-called “Jamaican coalition” (in the colors of the Jamaican flag), with the black of the CDU, the yellow of the FDP and the Greens. .
The possibility of forming once again a grand coalition between right and left, and therefore between CDU, SPD and possibly other parties, is not excluded, as happened in the last legislature (and in several of the previous ones). Both Scholz and Laschet, however, have said they will do everything to avoid this hypothesis.
On Saturday all the parties held their last electoral rallies, and the most commented on was that of the CDU in Aachen, which was also attended by Merkel. The outgoing chancellor had to actively participate in the last weeks of the election campaign to support Laschet, and on Saturday said that if the center-left wins, “the stability of Germany would be at stake”.
– Read also: Quick guide to elections in Germany