Hooray for Martin Schulz!
Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) has narrowly won Germany’s elections, with Martin Schulz elected as Germany’s new chancellor. The centre-left party was previously in opposition for 12 years after losing to Merkel’s Christian Democrats in 2005. Olaf Scholz will be the country’s finance minister, while Andrea Nahles becomes Germany’s first female leader of the SPD.
Schulz said: “We will hunt down right-wing extremism wherever it shows itself. But we know that the only antidote to right-wing populism is…
social justice. That’s why we want to build a society in which everyone has a place”. Schulz vowed to fight for social policies and ensure tax cuts for workers, as well as fighting for democracy and liberal values. He added: “We are aware that we will have to fight against right-wing populism, but we are optimistic about our chances”.
Schulz was previously president of the European Parliament since 2012, and has vowed to strengthen Europe’s core values including democratic principles. It is hoped these policies will help increase voter turnout in next year’s European elections.
The SPD had a difficult start following Schulz’s leadership, with some voters preferring a coalition government with Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU). However, opinion polls had predicted a much stronger result for the Social Democrats – some even suggested they could win by a strong margin.
The CDU remains Germany’s largest, but lacked a majority in parliament for a fourth consecutive term. Merkel said she would prefer to form a coalition with the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and Greens, but will not rule out another grand coalition with her current partners.
The anti-immigration party AfD have however entered parliament for the first time, winning 12.6% of the vote – this has been accompanied by right-wing protests in several towns and cities.
Merkel’s Party Claims Tight Win in
German Parliament Election
(Bloomberg) — A closely fought election in Germany that left Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bloc unable to rule on its own showed signs of fraying consensus, with some in the European Union urging renewed focus on euro-area integration.
Merkel’s Christian Democrats emerged as the largest party, according to preliminary results released after voting ended Sunday, but bled support to a surging far right and struggled to form a working coalition. The result leaves Europe without clear leadership at time when Italy is set for elections next year that could bring anti-euro populists into power there too.
‘No More Excuses’
French President Emmanuel Macron called for “sober” face-to-face talks with Merkel on Monday about what stance her new coalition will take toward Europe, demanding that Berlin stop being “On the one hand … on the other.”
“There are issues of great importance for partners in Germany and France — namely, security, migration and economic growth,” Macron said in a televised address. But he added: “I’m not looking to play political poker with our German friends.”