7 big predictions for Germany’s federal election and Merkel’s future

Germany goes to the polls today. Here are seven predictions for the contest.

1. The CDU/CSU will emerge the largest party

We seem to be in a complicated age of big political surprises, but there is virtually no chance of Merkel’s centre right Christian and Social Democrats not emerging as the largest party. The last poll to put Martin Shulz’s SPD ahead was back in April – and even then, the SPD led by just 0.5 percentage points. Of course, while the alliance will emerge as the largest group in the Bundestag, they will lose seats and their share of the vote will go down.

2. Six parties will enter the Bundestag

In order to gain representation in the German parliament, parties must win FPTP constituency seats or win a 5% or above overall vote-share. This time around, the polls suggest that, the CDU/CSU, the centre-left SPD, the Greens, the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), the far-right Alternative for Deutschland and the left-wing die Linke party (the left) will all enter parliament.

In 2013, only the CDU/CSU, the SPD, the Greens and the Left won seats in the Bundestag.

3. A Jamaica coalition will be possible, but there will be a new grand coalition

A so-called Jamaica coalition of the CDU/CSU, the FDP and the Greens will be arithmetically possible, as the Pollytix poll calculator suggests, but such a coalition's majority would be small, something which could lead to major difficulties in the event of big inter-party disagreements. As a result, Merkel will turn to the SPD once again for a repeat of the grand coalition. Martin Schulz will no doubt get a high-ranking position in the new government.

4. The grand coalition will be less grand

The dynamics of this new grand coalition will be very different. The election will likely squeeze the centre of German politics, with both the CDU/CSU and SPD on course to lose votes and seats in the Bundestag.

5. The third largest party will be...

Germany’s new third party will be the Alternative for Germany party, which YouGov’s election model currently predicts will end up with somewhere between 68 – 103 seats. The Left will emerge as the fourth largest party, with slightly fewer seats that the far-right AfD.

6. Angela Merkel will remain chancellor

The Berlin state-government is currently made up of a centre-left coalition of the SPD, the Left and the Greens.

3. Germany’s Bundestag is the equivalent of Westminster’s House of Commons

The federal elections taking place next month are for the Bundestag. They will decide who governs the country for the next four years, including who takes over as chancellor. There are 598+ seats in the Bundestag, which are allocated via the Mixed Member Proportional Representation System (MMP). This is very similar to elections for the Scottish parliament, London Assembly and the Welsh Assembly. Half of the seats are elected via a FPTP single-member method while the other half are allocated via a top-up list with a threshold of 5%. This is where the FDP fell down last time as they did not win any FPTP seats, but also failed to meet the 5% threshold to get top-up seats.

Based off recent polling, all six main parties are expected to enter the Bundestag, something that could make coalition negotiations very interesting.

4. Germany’s upper house is fascinating

Germany’s upper house – it’s equivalent of the House of Lords or a Senate – is called