By Sheri Berman
The consensus throughout the German election campaign was that this vote was boring — in the best possible way. In a Europe roiled by s high unemployment rate, stagnating growth and unpredictable politics, Germany was viewed as a bastion of stability. It was prosperous and unemployment was low. All the polls predicted that it would elect the same chancellor — Angela Merkel — who has governed the country for 12 years. Merkel’s popularity, moreover, lie largely in the calmness, pragmatism and stability she exudes. If elected, she promised Germans simply more of the same.
The results are now in. Merkel and her party, the CDU/CSU, won as expected. However, beneath this seeming continuity, there have been seismic tremors that will affect not just Germany but the rest of Europe.
The CDU won – but it still did really poorly
The CDU/CSU received only 33 percent of the vote — its worst result since 1949. Until fairly recently, the CDU/CSU and Germany’s other main party, the SPD, received together about 70 percent of the vote. This meant that one of them could always form a majority government with a smaller party with which it had significant overlap. Indeed, Merkel had hoped to form a …read more
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