Germany’s Social Democrats Narrowly Beat Outgoing Merkel’s Bloc In Sunday’s Vote

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Olaf Scholz, Finance Minister and SPD candidate for Chancellor after addressing his supporters after German parliament election at the Social Democratic Party, SPD, headquarters in Berlin, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021.

Michael Sohn/AP


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German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at the Konrad Adenauer House in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. German voters are choosing a new parliament in an election that will determine who succeeds Chancellor Angela Merkel after her 16 years at the helm of Europe’s biggest economy.

Michael Kappeler/AP


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German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at the Konrad Adenauer House in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. German voters are choosing a new parliament in an election that will determine who succeeds Chancellor Angela Merkel after her 16 years at the helm of Europe’s biggest economy.

Michael Kappeler/AP

Merkel, who has won plaudits for steering Germany through several major crises, won’t be an easy leader to follow. Her successor will have to oversee the country’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, which Germany so far has weathered relatively well thanks to large rescue programs.

Germany’s leading parties have significant differences when it comes to taxation and tackling climate change.

Foreign policy didn’t feature much in the campaign, although the Greens favor a tougher stance toward China and Russia.

Whichever parties form the next German government, the Free Democrats’ Lindner said it was «good news» that it would have a majority with centrist parties.

«All of those in Europe and beyond who were worried about Germany’s stability can now see: Germany will be stable in any case,» he said.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez sent early congratulations to Scholz.

«Spain and Germany will continue to work together for a stronger Europe and for a fair and green recovery that leaves no one behind,» he wrote on Twitter.

In two regional elections also held Sunday, the Social Democrats looked set to defend the post of Berlin mayor that they have held for two decades. The party was also on course for a strong win in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania.

For the first time since 1949, the Danish minority party SSW was set to win a seat in parliament, officials said.

  • Angela Merkel
  • Germany
  • election

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