The next German election takes place on the 24th September. Angel Merkel is going into the vote hoping to secure an historic fourth term as German chancellor. Her main challenge comes from the SPD, led by Martin Schulz, the former EU Parliament president, who hopes to return Germany to Social Democrat rule.
Merkel has been German chancellor since 2005.
In the last election, just four party’s made it into parliament, the CDU/CSU, the SPD, the left-wing Der Linke and the Greens. The 2013 election was historically significant because the social and economic liberal FDP, who had been Merkel’s junior coalition partners, did not win any seats in parliament.
The German voting system is mixed system of first-past-the-post and a top-up list. The FDP failed to get 5% of the top-up vote so did not meet the minimum threshold to enter parliament. Since the last election, Angela Merkel’s party have governed in a grand coalition with their SPD rivals.
The latest batch of opinion polls point to a victory for Angela Merkel, but the question is, who will govern with her?
- The latest Emnid poll (conducted between the 20th and 26th July) puts Merkel’s conservatives on 38%, ahead of the SPD on 24%. In 2013, Merkel’s party achieved 41% of the vote. Importantly, the poll puts the FDP on 8%, which would allow them to enter parliament.
- The latest YouGov poll (28th July – 1st August) also gives the CDU/CSU a strong lead, putting them on 37%, ahead of the SPD on 25%. On top of that, 9% of poll respondents picked the FDP.
- Furthermore, an Infratest dimap poll (25th – 26th July) puts Merkel’s party on 40%, a striking 17 percentage points ahead of Schulz’s SPD. Crucially, the FDP once again have a result above the 5% threshold, with this poll putting them on 8%.
Another term for Angela Merkel?
The polls point to Angela Merkel winning another term in government, however, as the recent UK general election showed, the finals weeks of the campaign can change everything. That said, Angela Merkel is a tested leader whereas Theresa May had been in power for little under a year. It’s a fool’s game to make predictions, but it looks almost certain that Angela Merkel will be returned to power, but this time with a new coalition partner.
But with the prospect of six parties getting into the new parliament, the question is, can a CDU/CSU-FDP alliance give Merkel a majority or will there be grand coalition once again?