The German election is one of the key elections for the Eurozone following the French and UK elections. Angela Merkel is in the final month of campaigning for a fourth term in power. With an anti-immigration party continuing to capture segments of the electorate, Merkel might be faced with a coalition with one or more opposition parties.
Germany has a complex voting system where the federal legislative power is divided between the Bundestag (the parliament of Germany) and Bundesrat (the representative body of the reginal states). The federal chancellor is the head of government (Bundestag) and the federal president is the head of the state. The president performs mainly ceremonial roles and has limited powers. The chancellor is the one that determines the government policies.
The ballot voting for the federal election in Germany is one of the most interesting election processes, in the western countries. It consists of 2 votes- one for the favourite candidate and the other one for the party. In other words, Germans do not have to vote for the party of the candidates they have voted.
Unlike in the United States, voters do not directly elect the chancellor, but it is voted in a secret ballot by the newly elected members of parliament and there is no limit to the number of terms a chancellor may be in office.
There are 2 major political groups – the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU) which is the centre-right group and Social Democratic Party (SPD) which is the centre-left.
The absolute majority needed means that the major group parties will more likely have to form a coalition to gain absolute majority. Therefore, the other 3 parties- Left, Free Democratic Party (FDP) and Green are as equally important in the election process.
Another party that has gained significant support because of its anti-immigration views over the last 3 years following the migration crisis is the Alternative for Germany (AfG).
Angela Merkel is often referred to as the leader of Europe. She secured huge support from the Germans for the way she handled the economy during the time of crisis. At the time of global economic crisis, she used stimulus policies to take Germany out of a long-term recession. She confidently pushed austerity measures and reforms across Europe and has established herself as a strong leader. She has also showed her commitment to saving the euro and her third term was mostly dedicated to it.
Her robust support for energy reforms by shutting down nuclear reactors after the Fukushima disaster has also defined her tenure as a world leader. The introduction of parent benefit, minimum wage and her demeanour in dealing with foreign leaders was also widely appreciated.
The polls are predicting a clear win for Merkel, but with the recent shocking election results in the UK with Brexit and elected political outsiders like Donald Trump and Emmanuel macron, nothing can be taken for granted anymore.
We will be back with more updates on a probable Grand coalition, the German election, Brexit and polls tracking over the coming weeks.
By: Deepta Bolaky