Merkel legacy in tatters as young German voters reject CDU status-quo ‘Cry for change’

Germany: Expert discusses 'cry for change' from young voters

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German political expert Mark Kayser believes the results from the country’s elections showed a sizeable “cry for change” from young voters, one which could wipe away the politics of the Merkel-era in Germany. Angela Merkel is winding down her 16 years at the head of the German Government as caretaker Chancellor while the main political parties conduct coalition negotiations following a narrow victory for the Social Democrats in last month’s election.

Professor Kayser told Express.co.uk: “I am not really sure whether this was an election about preserving the status quo and continuity in the sense of the Merkel years.

“One could argue that two of the biggest gainers in this election were the Greens and the FDP.

“Especially with young voters, they cleaned up they did very very well with young voters.

“That is a cry for change these were both opposition parties that don’t have so much in common honestly but they do overlap in some areas.”

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He added: “So I think what will happen basically because these two small parties are kingmakers, they could agree on anything.

“The Greens and the very business-friendly FPD if they could agree on anything they could choose who the Prime Minister is.

“They could form a coalition in what is called a traffic light coalition in which the main party would be the SPD and Olaf Scholz.”

The centre-left SPD narrowly beat the conservative CDU, whose outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel has governed since 2005, in national elections on September 26 but did not win a majority.

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The SPD, who came first in last month’s election, the Greens and the pro-business FDP have held exploratory talks on whether they have enough in common to form a government together.

“We will assess the results of the past few days’ discussions and write down what we can do together,” FDP Secretary General Volker Wissing said, adding the parties are now discussing the areas where they are the furthest apart.

Mindful of the collapse of tricky three-way coalition talks after Germany’s national election four years ago, the three parties are keeping tight-lipped about talks, saying they needed to thrash out their differences in private.

The process was “very difficult” and there was no guarantee of an actual decision on Friday, but the discussions were productive, Wissing added. 

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He declined to speculate on a coalition formation timetable beyond that.

While the Greens and the SPD are seen as ideologically close, the FDP is far from them, especially on economic and fiscal policy.

“After (the) past days of talks, I am sure we can come up with an agreement together if we work on it,” SPD Secretary General Lars Klingbeil said, adding he is optimistic about the next two days of negotiations.

“We have agreed to discuss in these talks the areas where we are furthest apart,” he added. “We don’t have to exchange pleasantries.”

 

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