German Residents Vote for New Leaders

 Flag of Germany 

 On September 26th, Germany is electing a new government. This will indirectly decide on the new chancellor of the country. Angela Merkel has been the German chancellor since November of 2005. Merkel’s party has won every 4-year election since 2005 as well, so this election is truly going to be a change for German politics and will decide the future direction of the country.

Just like in the US, there is a new election of government every 4 years. All eligible 18-year-old German voters choose between local and mail-in voting. Everyone has two votes. One vote elects a local representative for the one of the 299 constituencies they are living in. The other vote goes towards a party. The parties have candidate lists, and depending on what percentage of votes they receive, the party is assigned seats in the Bundestag, the German federal parliament. 

The governing power always wants to have more than 50% of the seats. The party with the most votes will select the chancellor. Unlike in the US, the chancellor can be reelected unlimitedly. To be a chancellor candidate a politician has to be elected by their own party as head of that part,y and that party has to win the election for the politician to be chancellor. Being chancellor for 16 years means that Angela Merkel has been elected by her party, CDU (center-right), five times, and the party has been reelected five times.

This year’s election is especially interesting because the polls have been shifting drastically. The currently still reigning party, CDU, started out with about 35% at the beginning of the year and is now at 21.1%, while the SPD (center-left) started at 15%, and is now the leading party with 25.4%. The third strongest party is the Green Party (center) with 16.4%. Internationally, the election is described as the “most important election in a generation” These developments can mainly be explained by the chancellor candidates of the three, but even the German press asks: “Is this the most boring election ever?” Granting that the population is in the middle of another wave of the pandemic and many are simply longing for stability and not searching for political powerhouse might be a valid answer. 

In the next few elections, it will be really hard to compete with Angela Merkel’s legacy. Her feats carry high remarks among the world stage. This election, everyone seems to agree that none of the candidates would even have a chance especially when comparing the current polls.

– Isa Mester ’22 

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