European elections: Traffic light coalition shocked, CDU calls for vote of confidence – The parties’ reactions

European elections: Traffic light coalition shocked, CDU calls for vote of confidence – The parties’ reactions

In the European elections in Germany, the CDU and CSU won by a wide margin. According to projections by ARD and ZDF, the AfD is also gaining ground, reaching second place. The SPD is only behind them. The Greens are in fourth place, with significant losses. The FDP remains stable, while the Left Party is falling sharply – and is being overtaken by Sahra Wagenknecht’s new BSW party. It is a setback for the traffic light coalition – all three government parties are losing voters.

Slap in the face for traffic light parties, AfD becomes second strongest force

According to Sunday evening’s projections, the Union increased slightly to 29.6 to 30 percent (2019: 28.9). The AfD achieved its best result to date in a European election (11) with 16.1 to 16.4 percent, although this was lower than interim poll results. The SPD dropped to 14 percent (15.8) – its worst result ever in a nationwide election. The Greens slipped to 12 to 12.4 percent (20.5). The FDP remained almost unchanged at 4.9 to 5 percent (5.4). Together, the SPD, Greens and FDP only received around 31 percent of the vote.

The Left landed at a meager 2.8 to 2.9 percent (5.5) – its worst result in European elections. The BSW party achieved 5.7 to 5.9 percent straight away. The Volt party was at 2.8 to 3 percent.

In contrast to federal and state elections, there is no threshold for the European elections in Germany, i.e. a five percent hurdle. According to projections, voter turnout is between 64 and 65 percent. In 2019, it was 61.4 percent, at which time Germany was in fifth place among the 27 EU states. For the first time, 16 and 17 year olds were allowed to vote in a European election in Germany.

SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert spoke of a very bitter election result. “For us, today is a hard defeat,” he said on ARD. But there was no discussion about Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD).

CDU General Secretary Linnemann calls for vote of confidence from Scholz

CDU General Secretary Carsten Linnemann sees this as a defeat for the traffic light coalition under Scholz. “He really has to ask himself the question when he is being plastered all over the country: is he really making politics for the people here?” he said on ZDF. “Otherwise he has to clear the way, for example with a vote of confidence.” CSU leader Markus Söder said: “The traffic light coalition has de facto been voted out by the citizens.”

AfD leader Tino Chrupalla called his party’s result “historic.” Co-party leader Alice Weidel spoke of a “super result.”

Green Party leader Ricarda Lang reacted with disappointment to her party’s loss of votes. “That is not the claim we went into this election with, and we will work through it together,” the co-party leader said on ARD.

In many EU countries, including Germany, a significant increase for right-wing parties was expected. For example, polls before the election had put the AfD at more than 20 percent. However, allegations against its top candidate Maximilian Krah and the number two on the European election list, Petr Bystron, got the party into trouble. Both made headlines because of possible connections to pro-Russian networks, and in Krah’s case there are also possible connections to China.

Bystron is being investigated on suspicion of bribery and money laundering. Krah, a member of the European Parliament since 2019, has also recently received massive criticism for trivializing statements about the SS, the so-called Schutzstaffel of the National Socialists. The AfD’s federal executive board then called on Krah to stop appearing in public during the election campaign. As a result, the right-wing ID (Identity and Democracy) group in the European Parliament excluded all German AfD MPs.

360 million EU citizens eligible to vote

Around 360 million citizens in the 27 EU states were eligible to vote, of which almost 61 million were Germans. Between Thursday and Sunday, 720 representatives for the new European Parliament were elected – depending on the country – 96 of them in Germany on the last day. Apart from the parliamentary election in India, it is the largest democratic vote in the world – and the only direct election across national borders. Around 1,400 candidates for 35 parties and other political associations ran in Germany.

In the five years since the last European elections in 2019, drastic crises have kept the EU on tenterhooks: a pandemic with tens of thousands of deaths and a subsequent economic crisis, the Russian invasion of Ukraine with the resulting energy crisis, renewed strong migration to Europe and, most recently, the Gaza war and weather disasters such as droughts and floods as a result of the worsening climate crisis.

The European elections are seen as an important mood test ahead of the three state elections in Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg in September and the federal election next year.

Source: Stern

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