Tight result in Germany’s federal election signals start of coalition talks

Germany has just concluded its federal electoral cycle, and though the left-leaning Social Democratic Party (SPD) was successful in winning the largest number of legislative seats, the overall outcome was so shockingly close that it remains uncertain who will serve as the next leader of the country, as Fox News reports.

Olaf Scholz of the SPD has expressed his desire to begin coalition building discussions with the Green Party and the Liberal Democrat Party, as the BBC noted, but Armin Laschet of the conservative slate also claims to have a mandate to guide the direction of those talks.

Scholz took immediate issue with that characterization, saying after the finalization of vote tally, which revealed less than a 2% gulf between the two factions, “Parties that lose elections shouldn’t try to form governments,” according to Fox News.

The election, which took place on Sept. 26, was viewed as particularly important, as it will result in the selection of a new chancellor to succeed conservative Angela Merkel, who has been in office for 16 years.

Voting was extremely tight, and no single party secured sufficient votes to create a solid majority in the country’s parliament, known as the Bundestag, as the BBC added.

As a result, it will be necessary for a coalition government to be cobbled together, something which has had to occur in every single election cycle dating back to before World War II.

The formation of a coalition government can be a lengthy process under Germany’s system, often taking many months, if  it proves successful at all. Parties are permitted to hold “exploratory” discussions in which everyone can participate in negotiations and determine whether fruitful collaboration is likely before further decisions are made.

As Fox News noted, Merkel herself had previously cautioned that the installment of a socialist government posed a real threat of crippling business and leaving Germany isolated in the global arena, urging voters to think about their future when casting their ballots, but the outcome suggests that her advice was not overwhelmingly heeded.

President Joe Biden, who spent yet another leisurely weekend away from Washington while Germany went to the polls, was apparently unaware of electoral developments in that country until he returned to D.C., and when he was informed of the outcome on Monday, reportedly responded with profound insight by saying, “I’ll be darned.”