The so-called historic parliamentary elections in Germany was held on Sunday 26th September 2021. This election will determine the political future of the country, which is the locomotive of the European Union. This is the largest number of parties in the parliamentary elections since the unification of the two Germanys. According to the country's election commission, 47 parties are running in the Bundestag elections. A total of 6,211 candidates ran on September 26, including 2,024 women.
Incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel chose not to run again in this election and announced her intention to leave politics after the next government is formed. After 16 years of "Iron Lady" rule, a new generation awaits Germany. The outcome of the vote will determine what the new generation will look like and which path the Federal Republic will take.
Polling stations opened at 08:00 and closed at 18:00, and ARD and ZDF television channels broadcasted the first exit polls as soon as polling stations closed. Germans could also vote by mail. Voting began by mail on August 16 and citizens must submit their ballots before 6 pm on September 24, but must cast their ballots at any time before the polls close at 6 pm.
The country uses a mixed electoral system that combines majoritarian and proportional principles. Half of the candidates are elected by direct vote in 299 constituencies, while the rest are elected on party lists.
Preliminary results were shared on Monday evening and final results were published on Tuesday. With 25.7% of total votes, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) recorded their best result since 2005 and emerged as the largest party for the first time since 2002. The ruling Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), which had led a grand coalition with the SPD since 2013, recorded their worst ever result with 24.1%, a significant decline from 32.9% in 2017. The Greens achieved their best result in history at 14.8%, while the Free Democratic Party (FDP) made small gains and finished on 11.5%. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) fell from third to fifth place with 10.3%, a decline of 2.3 percentage points. The Left suffered their worst showing since their official formation in 2007, failing to cross the 5% electoral threshold by just over one-tenth of a percentage point. The party was nonetheless entitled to full proportional representation as it won three direct constituencies.
One of the main factors in the SPD's rise to prominence is the influence of Olaf Scholz, the party's candidate for chancellor and finance minister. Olaf Scholz, who was nominated by the SPD in August 2020, is considered by the German public to be a politically experienced and determined politician and has the highest rating as Germany's next chancellor.
The promise of the German Social Democrats
The slogan of the German Bundestag's election platform is "Future, Respect, Europe". The main areas of the SPD's agenda are climate change, decent work and justice. Let's look at the main promises of its platform.
By 2045, Germany will be a carbon-neutral country with a goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions, and by 2040, all energy will be environmentally friendly. Global "carbon neutrality" was first introduced by the Paris Agreement in 2015, which limits global emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide. The Social Democrats believe that Germany should be the first developed country in the world to achieve this goal.
It has promised to raise the minimum wage from 9.50 euros to 12 euros and to eliminate layoffs. It also emphasizes the issue of guaranteeing the rights of employees in the online environment and increasing wages.
SPD believes that free, quality and reliable education should be provided to everyone. Therefore, support will be provided for the further expansion of daycare centres, schools, youth organizations, and full-time care centres in the federal states. The goal is to double the number of young people studying in education by 2030. It also promises to renovate schools, upgrade e-learning equipment and curricula. E-learning equipment should be accessible to all students. The SPD's action plan emphasizes that teachers should be able to participate in training, known nationwide as skills centres.
The German Social Democrats believe that environmentally friendly buses and trains should be expanded to provide more space for pedestrians and cyclists. He also said that rail travel in Europe should be cheaper than flying, and promised to connect every major city to a long-distance train network. It is also planned to increase the speed limit on the highway to 130 km/h.
Wikipedia.org: 2021 German federal election
dw.com: German election 2021: Both CDU and SPD aim to form coalitions — as it happened
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