The world’s most watched elections occur in America. The world’s most boring election just occurred in Germany. As expected, Chancellor Angela Merkel was effectively reelected.
The Federal Republic of Germany is the world’s most admired nation and possesses Europe’s largest economy. Berlin’s political and economic stability is the envy of the European Union.
Merkel has served as chancellor for eight years. A skilled political infighter, she exudes confidence and competence.
Germans rewarded her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), with 41.5 percent of the vote, well ahead of the more left-wing Social Democratic Party. However, the CDU/CSU fell five seats short of a parliamentary majority. And Merkel current coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party, failed to receive the 5 percent of the vote necessary to be represented in the Bundestag.
Commentary on the election has focused on Merkel’s triumph. There is little doubt that she will remain chancellor. The only question is the identity of her coalition partner–and what price she will have to pay for that party’s support.
Ironically, policy isn’t likely to change very much as a result of the election. Merkel has steadily pulled her party leftward. Cem Ozdemir, co-chair of the Green Party, complained that the chancellor “becomes Green when it helps her and becomes a Social Democrat when that’s beneficial too.”
Alas, her policies helped wreck Germany’s liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP). The Free Democrats were created in 1949 and have served in the Bundestag ever since. In 2009 they made their best showing ever, 14.6 percent. Now, with just 4.8 percent of the vote, they are out of the Bundestag.