Angela Merkel secured a third term as German chancellor, but her Christian Democrat party fell just short of winning an outright majority,
As a result, she will now have to include leftists in her ruling coalition.
According to provisional final results, Merkel’s Christian Democrats received 41.5% of the vote.
That outcome was not all that unexpected.
The real news is that Merkel’s former junior coalition partners, the Free Democrats, got routed, failing to surpass the 5% threshold necessary to even stand in parliament.
So now Merkel will have to choose among those parties that did make it in.
That includes the Social Democrats (SPD), who received the second-most votes at 25.7%, and the Greens at 8.4%.
The New York Times’ Alison Smale and Melissa Eddy actually called this outcome hours ago, writing that there will now be, “more paralysis for Europe as German leaders engage in weeks of horse-trading to form what is likely to be a grand coalition.”
Reuters’ Noah Barkin notes Merkel ran a successful coalition with the SPD from 2005 to 2009.
But he says this time around they may not join without heavy concessions:
During the campaign, the center-left party argued for a minimum wage and higher taxes on the wealthy — both opposed by Merkel. The party could also demand the finance ministry, pushing out respected 71-year-old incumbent Wolfgang Schaeuble.
SPD Chairman Sigmar Gabriel did not categorically rule out entering talks with Merkel, but sent a signal that his party, which lost millions of supporters during the last ‘grand coalition,’ would not roll over.
‘We won’t automatically go into a grand coalition,’ said Gabriel. ‘What is important are the policies.’
The Euro-sceptic AfD party, the leader of which our Matt Boesler interviewed earlier this year, also failed to make the 5% cut-off.