Berlin (AP) — Germans go to polls on Sunday to elect a new parliament and produce new German leaders 16 years after commanding Chancellor Angela Merkel. Chancellor Merkel decided not to run in the fifth term, and the campaign focused primarily on three candidates who wanted to replace her.
Take a look at the highs, lows and unforeseen events that took place during Germany’s latest campaign.
What’s hot, what’s not
Climate change rose to the top of Germany’s political agenda in the summer, following a deadly flood that struck western Germany in July. Experts say that as global warming continues, it is more likely.
The issue was enthusiastically discussed in a television-based election debate, with three key candidates coming up with various plans to tackle climate change.
Merkel’s central right coalition block and its key candidate Armin Laschet want to focus on technical solutions, while the current central left Social Democratic Party under the Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is in Europe. The biggest economy is a carbon-neutral future.
With this issue as the central topic of the campaign, Greens promised to do everything to get Germany on track to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. They want to achieve that by raising carbon prices, demanding solar panels in all new public buildings, and ending coal use eight years earlier than planned.
Foreign policy, including the future of the European Union, received relatively little attention during the campaign. Berlin’s allies have long sought Germany to take more leadership on the international arena, but the three candidates avoided presenting a radical foreign policy vision.
Don’t laugh anymore
One memorable image for many voters is that Rachette is laughing in the background as the German president solemnly visits the flooded areas. Rachette, the governor of the state that was hit hard by North Rhine-Westphalia, later expressed regret over the incident.
Book a blooper
Both Green Party candidates Annalena Baerbock and Union Block’s Rachette remained in the red in the face of exposure that they were economical in trusting the sources they drew for their books. The mistake gave Scholz a further boost. Scholz’s naive, nonsense image helped bring his party to the forefront of polls a month before the election.
The three candidates undoubtedly faced the most difficult questions from two 10-year-olds who interviewed them in a toy-filled playtent.
While Baerbock struggled to explain her green tax system to children, Rachette raised his eyebrows by adhering to his Cigarillo habit with the words “I don’t smoke.”
Scholz was forced to explain to a minor interviewer why the German government did nothing more to prevent the drowning of migrants, including children, in the Mediterranean on their way to Europe.
Nine days before the official vote, 250,000 students under the age of 18 were allowed to vote for priority parties in mock elections at schools across Germany.
The result showed Greens’ narrow victory ahead of the Social Democratic and Merkel union block. But in reality, German elections are heavily biased towards the older generation. First-time voters on Sunday will account for less than 5% of the 60.4 million voters.
The color of the coalition government
What does Jamaica and Kenya have to do with the German elections? Because each German political party is associated with a particular color, the flags of both countries are widely used as an abbreviation for a particular alliance that may form a coalition government after the election.
The “German Union” will see Merkel’s centre-left coalition block (black) join forces with the centre-left Social Democratic Party (red) and the Free Market Liberal Democratic Party (yellow). Under “Jamaica”, the Social Democratic Party will be replaced by the Greens.
If the Greens join the current “grand coalition” of Union Block and the Social Democratic Party, they form a black, red, and green “Kenyan” coalition.
To add to the fast-paced array of color-coded government options, Social Democratic, Liberal Democratic, and Green Party “signals” are possible, as well as Social Democratic, Green Party, and left-wing “red-red-green” alliances. Party. This is because the left also traditionally claims a slightly different shade of red.
A small problem …
According to opinion polls, smaller parties have gained more support than many previous German elections, stealing votes from large rivals and making it difficult to form a coalition government. One small party that was able to re-enter the German parliament for the first time since 1949 is the South Schleswig Voter Association (SSW). Election officials say that as a party representing the Danish minority in Germany, it is not necessary to meet the usual 5% voting standard.
… and the big ones
Whoever wins Sunday’s elections, experts say Germany’s next parliament will probably be bigger than ever. Election rules are even more awkward than ever, meaning that the current 709-seat federal parliament could grow to more than 800 seats.
Follow the Associated Press coverage of the German elections at https://apnews.com/hub/germany-election
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Floods, Books, Children: Highlights of the German Election Campaign | WGN Radio 720
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