7 possible outcomes of a new German election: is Merkel finished?

Angela Merkel Close Up

With talk of Germany heading back the polls, take a look at seven possible outcomes of a new German vote.

According to the BBC, following the collapse of coalition discussions between Merkel’s centre-right CDU/CSU, the pro-free-market FDP and the Greens, Angela Merkel has said she would prefer a “new vote” instead of leading a minority government.

A new election could result in a range of outcomes:

1. No change and a subsequent Jamaica coalition.

One very likely option is that the numbers do not budge, and Angela Merkel is left in the same position. If that is the case, it is possible that coalition talks would resume and the CDU/CSU, the FDP and the Greens would put the national interest above party splits and get around to forming a government. In such a scenario, Angela Merkel would likely remain chancellor, but there would probably be talk of her stepping down before the next vote as such a coalition would likely be rather precarious.

2. The same outcome and a Schulz-Merkel alliance

Again, if the numbers barely shift in a new vote, the centre-left SPD, who had been governing with Merkel’s party until September’s election, could reconsider their anti-coalition stance and join forces with the CDU/CSU to form a new government.

Martin Schulz

3. A weakened CDU/CSU

It’s possible – and recent polls suggest this is could be the case – that Merkel’s party could emerge from new elections with significantly fewer seats. In this scenario, they would still be ahead of the SPD, but they would be in a severely less powerful position. If all the other parties made slight gains at the expense of Merkel’s, very little would change. The prospect of a new grand coalition would be more likely as the SPD would have slightly more leverage.

Under such an arrangement, Merkel would probably lead for a few years before stepping down in favour of a successor.

4. The rise of the FDP

According to the Spiegel, the latest Civey poll shows a significant increase in support for Merkel’s natural coalition partners, the FDP. The poll suggests that the CDU and the SPD would lose out, however, it’s possible that a scenario could emerge where the FPD gain significant ground, the AfD’s support plummets and a coalition between the CDU/CSU and the FPD emerges as arithmetically possible.

Under this scenario, Merkel’s position would be secure, but there would probably be talk of a replacement in the coming years.

Emmanuel Macron & Merkel European Council meeting

5. An SPD surge

At this stage, it looks very unlikely, but the SPD could present themselves as a sensible, alternative stable governing force and catch up with or even over take the CDU/CSU.

A new grand coalition could then be formed, or even a three-way alliance with the Greens and the Left.

Second time lucky for Martin Schulz?

Martin SCHULZ - EP President

6. An AfD surge

The AfD caused a massive political earthquake in September, and while they have remained steady in the polls, it’s possible to imagine that with the collapse of Merkel's stable regime, the AfD could gain further support. The party are not going to become the country’s second party in a new election, but they could come within a few points of the SPD.

If the AfD approached 20% of the vote – primarily at the expense of CDU/CSU, Germany’s political establishment would enter crisis mode.

A new grand coalition could emerge – possibly also including one of the smaller parties such as the FPD.

7. No election

With falling poll numbers, the SPD could end up seeing sense and not want to risk another election so soon. The chance for a last-minute deal with the CDU/CSU to form another grand coalition is possible, but time is running out.

Such a coalition would likely result in the centre-right making massive concessions to Martin Schulz’s party.

Update: the SPD are entering into talks with the CDU/CSU, according to Bloomberg.