Germany election: Juncker reflects on Merkel’s time in office
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The Social Democrats (SPD) have won the highest share of the vote at 25.9 percent, closely followed by Ms Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party which secured 24.5 percent of votes. The Green party achieved its record share of the vote at 14.8 percent, but this figure was not as high as they were expecting, after climate change dominated so much of German politics this year.
The SPD did not win enough of a majority to form a government of its own, so a coalition must be formed over the coming months, and Angela Merkel will remain in power until the process is finalised.
Olaf Scholz, leader of the centre-left Social Democrats, said: “This is a great victory, the voters have made a clear decision and we’re ahead.
“We’ll wait for the final results and then get right to work.”
Ms Merkel’s CDU, meanwhile, has suffered its worst ever defeat, falling out of power for the first time in 19 years.
Leader of the CDU Armin Laschet took home an eight percent smaller share of German votes than Ms Merkel did at the last election four years ago.
He said: “We can’t be happy with these results.”
The loss is an embarrassing one for the CDU who have ruled Germany for 52 of the past 72 years, and have been so highly praised by global media for Ms Merkel’s firm but fair leadership.
Express readers flocked to praise the Chancellor who has been dubbed the Mother of Germany.
One reader, JSM, said: “She led Germany through changing times. She did that with courage and a brave compassion.
“She was a great leader, a great human being and a wonderful woman.”
It seems Ms Merkel may have bowed out of the political arena at the right moment, ensuring her 16-year reign remained an impressively clear run.
But the German people are tired of EU leadership, and the slow EU vaccine roll out has been devastating to Brussels’ German support.
In fact, 55 percent of Germans believe the EU’s political system is broken, according to the ECFR, and that figure has risen by 25 percent since last year.
But Ms Merkel has always had a close relationship and respect for the EU and has even been tipped to take over from Ursula von der Leyen as President of the European Commission.
According to 56 percent of 1,141 Express readers who voted in a poll held from September 24 to 28, Germany should not be worried about Ms Merkel’s reign coming to an end.
Many voters predicted that under a new leader, Germany’s relationship with the EU will dissolve due to a lack of public confidence in the alliance.
One reader, Xande, said: “Whoever takes over is going to have a monumental task of keeping the German public on board with the EU project as year-on-year German taxpayers are having to pay more and more to keep the whole thing afloat.
“That’s a situation that is not going to get any better as the years go on, especially since the second biggest contributor, the UK, has gone.”
Another reader, SPJ, agreed: “The EU, they should be worried. German voters are fed up of funding Brussels.”
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Others criticised Merkel for her decision to take in a large number of refugees and migrants, as well as her trade deal with Russia to build the Nord Stream gas line that has been built on the ocean floor between the two countries.
In recent months, the German CDU government have been harshly criticised for its close economic relationship with China and its lack of condemnation over China’s human rights abuses of Uighur Muslims.
In addition, research by the European Commission showed that 67 percent of Germans feel their government is not doing enough to tackle climate change.
After the extreme flooding in July, which killed nearly 200 people, the Green party took home 5.8 percent more of the vote than they did last election and will most likely be part of the next coalition government.
Do you think Germany’s relationship with the EU will crumble after a new government is formed? Tell us more of what you think in the comment section below.
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