Angela Merkel achieved a personal victory in Sunday’s German general elections winning and leading her Christian Democrat party (CDU) to the best results in 20 years, and this after two terms in power. But that doesn’t mean an easy way ahead for her.
She lost her partner in the Government, the FDP, that didn’t make it to the parliament for the first time since WWII. And now the German political landscape changed completely, with Merkel in need to find another partner (probably the social democrats SDP) or lead the country in minority, because she fall short from the absolute majority in parliament. That means difficult negotiations. Only a coalition summing all the parties in the opposition could put her out of power. She has 311 seats in the Bundestag and all the opposition parties (SDP, the Greens and the Left party,) 319. But this is not seen as a realistic possibility as the Social Democrats have repeatedly ruled out working with the Left party at the federal level, the German media say. Merkel had already governed in a great coalition with the SDP in her first term as Chancellor.
Merkel convinced the German voters for the third time and improving her results, because she sold and delivered stability, pragmatism and a relatively good economic situation in Germany in the middle of the big European crisis. It seems most of the voters were for stability, something a coalition summing all the opposition parties cannot deliver.
The German elections are important also for the EU. If the political landscape changed in Germany, with Merkel in power nothing changes in Europe. A third term for Merkel means a continuity in EU austerity measures so unpopular and hard for the southern countries in deep crisis.