Angela Merkel has been re-elected as Chancellor of Germany in a rather bland election. Her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won the most seats in the Bundestag (German Parliament) making her Chancellor. Her win was extremely sound and expected, however, the results didn’t come without some surprises. Far right Party, Alternative für Deutschland (AFD) made a sudden surge in the polls.
Merkel’s CDU won 32.9% of the vote, the largest amount received by any party. The runner-up was Martin Schulz’s center-left, Social Democratic Party (SPD) with 21.6% of the vote. In third the AFD won 13% of the vote. Fourth was Christian Linder’s centrist-Libertarian, Free Democratic Party (FDP) who won 10% of the vote. This set Merkel to be re-elected as Chancellor of Germany. She will be serving her fourth term as Chancellor. Her win was no surprise, throughout the rather quiet election polls showed her as the more favorable candidate.
The election, although bland, marked a significant rise for The AFD, a eurosceptic, nationalist, right-wing party focused on a German exit from the European Union. Founded in 2013, the party received a surprising amount of support, seizing 13% of the vote. No far-right Party has won as many seats as they did in nearly 50 years. Some Germans see the AFD as fascist, already anti-AFD protests have broken out in Berlin. Merkel’s campaign attempted to stay away from Germany’s Nazi past. Some in Germany fear that the AFD may be sending them back to it.
In Germany the Bundestag is elected by a system called proportional representation, in this system, seats are divided by how much of the vote each party gets. If one party receives 10% of the vote they will receive 10% of the seats.
Although her party won the most seats, Merkel is not officially re-elected quite yet, the Bundestag elects the Chancellor similar to how the House of Representatives in the US elects their speaker. Merkel’s CDU won roughly 30% of the seats, she will still go through coalition talks with smaller parties in order to be formally elected by the Bundestag. There are extremely low odds that she loses this, however.
Angela Merkel will remain as Chancellor for another four years, her first term began in 2005 and her next election will be in 2021. Merkel is one of the most influential people in Europe, in 2015 TIME magazine named her person of the year, she actively opposed Brexit and fought hard for a stable Europe.
Merkel’s victory shows that the European Union will likely remain stable through Brexit, however, it is impossible to deny that throughout Europe the EU is getting less and less popular. Recently the Dutch elected anti- EU candidate Garrett Wilders as opposition leader in parliament, Marie LePen finished second in the French elections, and now the AFD has made a surge in Germany.
Colin Louis is a Libertarian from Illinois. He is a writer for 71 Republic, member of the Libertarian Youth Caucus, and member of the Matthew C. Scaro for Governor campaign. He is an advocate for fiscal conservativism, less foreign intervention, and electoral reform. You can follow him on Instagram @the_libertarian_nationalist