The Social Democratic Party (SDP) narrowly beat the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) for the largest vote share in yesterday's federal election in Germany. While the center-left party still has to build a governing coalition, it is clear that SDP leader Olaf Scholz will replace Angela Merkel as the next German Chancellor.
- The SDP has governed alongside the CDU in recent years as part of a centrist "grand coalition," but Scholz made it clear that the SDP aims to build a governing coalition without the conservatives. He said yesterday:
- "I think that the people in Germany want the Christian Democratic Union in opposition. This is their result now, what they decided during the election."
- An SDP-led coalition would necessarily include the Green Party, which won their highest-ever number of seats in the German Bundestag.
- It could also include the far-left Die Linke party or the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP).
- It is unlikely that any coalition would include both of these parties, leaving SDP leadership with a difficult choice: attempt to build a left coalition with Die Linke and the Greens or build a "traffic light" coalition with the Greens and the FDP.
- Leading German parties would like a new government — and chancellor — by January, when Germany takes over the leadership of the G7.
- Merkel will remain chancellor until a new government is formed.