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Angela Merkel’s political force won elections to Bundestag. September 22, the alliance of the Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union (Bavaria) got 41.5% of the vote on party lists and 45.3% in single-member districts. According to Reuters, this is the CDU/CSU best result for the last 20 years.
"This is a super result," Merkel told cheering supporters. "Together, we will do all we can to make the next four years successful ones for Germany."
However, the Merkel’s bloc failed to win the absolute majority, and the CDU/CSU will have to make coalition to form the government. The Social Democrats came the second with 25.7% of the vote. The Green polled 8.4%, while the hard-line Left Party scored 8.6%. According to experts, the most likely option is a revival of a "grand coalition" with the center-left Social Democrats, who were supported by 25.5%.
ForUm traditionally asks the competent professionals about coalition-making process in Germany, Angela Merkel after the elections 2013 and changes in German internal and foreign policies:
Andreas Umland, German political analyst:
– This is a historic election because the alliance of the Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union (Bavaria) came close to achieving an absolute majority in the Bundestag (only once reached in the 1950s, under Adenauer)," he said.
Also, according to the expert, it is notable that the Free Democratic Party is not in the Bundestag for the first time since 1949 and the Left party, a successor organization of the East German communist Socialist Unity Party (SED), became the third largest faction in the Bundestag and seems to have thus established itself as a permanent part of the German party system (something not foreseen by many, some 15 years ago).
"I do not expect important changes in Germany's foreign policies - in spite of the fact that there will be a new Minister of Foreign Affairs. All parties are pro-EU and the possible coalition partners of the CDU/CSU, which will probably get the foreign ministry, do not have positions on Ukraine radically different from the FDP," Umland said.
"The one interesting thing to observe will be whether and how far the Russia policy of the SPD has changed, and how the probable new SPD foreign minister will be behaving in the dispute, between Russia and the EU, about Ukraine's future. Will the SPD continue the Schroeder tradition of German special relations with Russia, or take a more distanced or even critical stance towards the Kremlin? I would expect some discontinuity in as far as Russia's reputation in Germany has significantly decreased over the last four years. However, a statement by Peer Steinbrueck during the electoral campaign indicated continuity rather than change. Thus it remains open whether and how much Germany's Russia policy will change
Kyrylo Savin, head of the Heinrich Boell Foundation Office in Ukraine:
- Thee results of recent elections in Germany were quite unexpected. "Nobody expected that the ruling party led by Angela Merkel would have a great success. They actually needed only five seats for an absolute majority. The surprise was the fact that the traditional partner of the Christian Democrats - Free Democrats - will not be present in the Bundestag. Thus, Merkel, spite of her phenomenal results, is in a difficult situation. In fact, four fractions will be present in the parliament, three of them are left, and it is ideologically hard to create the coalition with them.
The negotiations to form a coalition will be difficult and time-consuming. They will not be completed in a month. "In fact, until the end of the year, Germany will remain in a situation of political uncertainty. Although, Merkel is most likely to remain chancellor of Germany.
Anneli Ute Gabanyi, German political analyst:
– The election outcomes are rather positive for Ukraine than vice versa. One can see that Brussels is leaning in favor of dialogue with Kyiv, and Germany plays first fiddle there. Such a position would be impossible without its approval. This does not mean that Berlin is unanimously “for”, but there is an approval.
The newly elected MPs must quickly make decisions on important foreign policy issues - Syria, Ukraine, etc. The Association Agreement is ready and it can be signed, but some issues remain unresolved for the EU, including the so-called "political justice." However, as far as I know, an active political dialogue on the subject is being held at the highest level, most of the emphasis has been softened, and there is a reason to hope for constructive solutions. Rubicon is passed, in a good sense: in September Europe signaled that the summit in Vilnius will rather end constructively to Kyiv, rather than vice versa. However, there is no 100 percent certainty yet.
Gerd Langguth, German professor of political science at the University of Bonn:
– Of course, the re-election of Merkel reinforces her political position. Politically strong Berlin strengthens Germany - not only in Europe but also in the global arena.
The electoral failure of the Free Democratic Party, the partner of the CDU/CSU coalition, makes the chancellor change the configuration of power - but there is no doubt that she can do it. The third term of Merkel is likely to be the last, but the most important one. Berlin has been actually recognized as the informal capital of the united Europe, and everyone expects that now it will open the gates to a new European future.
Mrs. Merkel will need all her political skills to reform the EU, avoiding, on the one hand, the surge of rich countries (where taxpayers are angry at the need to pay for, what they believe, carelessness of other inhabitants of the Old World), on the other - the "revolt" of poor countries. Germany's influence is perceived as a magic wand to save the Mediterranean countries, while at the same time as a club with which Berlin will force others to fulfill its requirements. The circumstances themselves pushed Germany to the fore, but the more active it is, the more intensive is the resistance from all sides. All previous tenure of Merkel was marked by struggle with debt problems - Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus ... And everywhere Berlin is in the spotlight.
Until now, the chancellor has demonstrated the ability to confidently steer the course. If she can bring to life a new consolidated European design, she will become equal to the most distinguished party members -predecessors - Adenauer and Kohl.
As for Ukraine, recent developments are declining all Europe to the signing of the Association Agreement already in Vilnius. If it does not happen, it will cause some frustration of elites not only in Ukraine but also in the Eastern Europe - especially against the background of confrontation with Russia. I think both sides are able to find a compromise, suiting each other's decisions on all matters remain controversial.
Volodymyr Ohryzko, ex-foreign minister of Ukraine:
It’s obvious that Merkel will remain chancellor. The only question is who will be the second partner in the coalition. Now different versions are discussed. And, of course, German politicians know better what kind of coalition to create, but it seems to me that the version of the "grand coalition" would be the best. Then the power will have the real support of voters, and could draw on popular support. Christian Democrats and Social Democrats make the overwhelming majority.
As for the prospects, the one and the other (parliamentary forces - Ed.) hold the same views. So I do not think we can talk about some fundamental changes in domestic or foreign policy, including relations with Ukraine.
Richard Schulze, political strategist (Germany):
– The German economy is showing steady growth, the unemployment rate has reached its lowest level since 2006, and the Germans hardly dare to "change horses in midstream". Unlike her main rival Steinbrück, Merkel is taking unhasting, but the right steps to solve many economic problems. She analyzes the situation and patiently relies on long tradition of family-run businesses - companies controlled primarily by their owners. These companies are a solid basis for the country's economy, and the chancellor actively supports them.
A few words about a possible coalition. Since the Free Democrats did not enter the Bundestag, the more logical seems the idea of "big" coalition with the SPD. German voters do not object to such an idea, primarily due to disillusionment with the former CDU/CSU partner - the Free Democrats.
The integration with Ukraine is a common mutually beneficial process, and I think it will develop. However, much still depends on the fulfillment of preconditions, stated by Brussels as objectively more influential international player.
Kost Bondarenko, president of the Ukrainian Politics Institute:
- Question of coalition-making is still open, but there is little doubt that Angela Merkel will form a majority. She will obviously become the Chancellor for the third time. Merkel will not become weaker.
As for policies, she will search for a compromise within the country and the foreign policy will remain uncompromising.