BERLIN/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)– German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives won Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Germany, but fell short of a historic absolute majority. Despite their strongest performance in a German national ballot for more than two decades, Merkel will face a tough challenge to form the next coalition, which could include political archrivals.
Yet supporters still celebrated as initial results showed that Merkel’s bloc — the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) — garnered just over 41 percent of the vote in Sunday’s elections.
She realizes that she cannot continue with the liberal junior coalition party which appeared just below the 5 percent needed to remain in parliament.
The results appeared to validate her policies and leadership style as she has guided Germany through the Eurozone’s economic crisis amid criticism that, ahead of the elections, she held back billions in unpopular bailout aid to struggling European Union nations.
“This is a super result,” Merkel told a cheering crowd. “We will do all we can in the next four years together to make them successful years for Germany. It is too early to say how we will proceed but today we should celebrate.”
She will now face the tough task to build a workable coalition. Analysts say that despite their traditional rivalry, Merkel may form a so-called “grand coalition” with the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), something she has done in the past.
That isn’t easy as the SPD favors unpopular tax increases in what is Europe’s largest economy. Yet speaking to supporters in Berlin the SPD’s chancellor candidate, Peer Steinbrück, did not rule out cooperating with Merkel’s pro-business conservatives.
“The situation is unclear, so the SPD would be well-advised not to speculate about how the government might look,” said Steinbruck whose party came in second with about a quarter of the vote. “That ball is in Mrs. Merkel’s court.”
One thing is sure: Angela Merkel, 59, is now on course to eclipse Britain’s Margaret Thatcher as the EU’s longest-serving female head of government. Her longevity in office would lag behind only Konrad Adenauer, the man who rebuilt Germany after World War II, and Helmut Kohl,
Merkel’s political mentor, who oversaw the reunification of West and East Germany.
(BosNewsLife’s NEWS WATCH is a regular look at key general news developments from especially, but not limited to, (former) Communist countries and other autocratic states impacting the Church and/or other compassionate professionals).
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