NewsGerman CDU/CSU emerges victorious in European elections, coalition in trouble

German CDU/CSU emerges victorious in European elections, coalition in trouble

The German press comments on Scholz's result
The German press comments on Scholz's result
Images source: © Getty Images | Sean Gallup

9:36 PM EDT, June 8, 2024, updated: 3:50 PM EDT, June 9, 2024

The German Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) secured the most support in the European elections on Sunday. "Yellow card for Olaf Scholz's coalition," reads the commentary in Germany. The press writes that the party will become restless.

According to exit poll results conducted by the Infratest Dimap Institute, European Parliamentary elections in Germany were won by the CDU/CSU, receiving 29.6 percent of the votes. In second place was the populist-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which received 16.3 percent of the votes.

The election results are a yellow card for the ruling coalition of SPD, the Greens, and the liberal FDP. According to the first forecasts, Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) obtained 14.1 percent of the votes, while the Greens received 12.1 percent. The third party of the German coalition, the liberal FDP, received 4.9 percent.

The left-wing party Alliance Sahra Wagenknecht (BSW), founded at the beginning of the year, secured 5.7 percent, while the Left Party received only 2.8 percent.

Voter turnout in Germany was 64 percent.

96 seats to be divided

The European Parliament has 96 MEPs from Germany. According to forecasts, the CDU can count on 23 seats, while its Bavarian sister party CSU can expect 6. The Social Democrats may get 14 seats, the Greens 12, and the FDP five.

The Alliance Sahra Wagenknecht may get six seats in the EP, and the Left Party has a chance for three seats.

The remaining seats will be divided among small groups that participated in and received votes in the European elections. In the case of European elections in Germany, the five-percent electoral threshold does not apply.

Significant losses for the Greens

Compared to the European elections in 2019, the German Greens suffered the biggest losses – a reduction of 8.4 percentage points, and the Left Party – a reduction of 2.7 percentage points. The SPD lost 1.7 percentage points and the FDP 0.5 points. The Bavarian CSU also had a slightly worse result than five years ago (minus 0.2 points).

The AfD gained the most – 5.3 percentage points. The CDU also improved slightly (plus 0.7 points).

SPD: "Bitter result"

The ruling SPD in Germany does not hide its disappointment with the election results. "This is a bitter result for us. I am personally disappointed," admitted SPD's leading candidate Katarina Barley during the election evening.

SPD General Secretary Kevin Kuehnert spoke of a "severe defeat" and announced a thorough analysis of the causes of the weak voter mobilization. He believes, however, that it was the right move to have Chancellor Olaf Scholz as the face of the SPD's election campaign, whose image appeared on the party's posters.

CDU: "Last warning" for the coalition

Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition CDU, Friedrich Merz, stated that "the election result is a defeat," as well as the last warning for the ruling coalition, and especially for Chancellor Olaf Scholz. "It cannot continue as it has in the last two and a half years." He said during the election evening, "Now we really need to adjust the course, which is in our country's interest. And I call on the government to do this in the coming days," added the CDU leader.

For the Bavarian Prime Minister and CSU leader Markus Soeder, the coalition's weak result is de facto the beginning of its end. He emphasized that the SPD, the Greens, and the FDP lost a quarter of their voters, and their alliance has "at most another year." "Then this apparition must disappear," he added.

German Christian Democrats expect that their leading candidate, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, will remain in office for another five-year term. For this to be possible, she must receive the support of Olaf Scholz's German government.

AfD the strongest force in eastern Germany

The scandals did not greatly harm the right-wing populist AfD revealed in recent months, including around its leading candidate Maximilian Krah, whose assistant was arrested for espionage for China. "After a bumpy start to the election campaign, we performed exceptionally well in the final stretch," AfD co-chair Alice Weidel told the media. She indicated that the AfD is the strongest force in eastern Germany. This is partly due to the fact that "people have become more critical of Europe," Alice Weidel assessed.

In the eastern federal states of Germany, the AfD is the leading political force. According to forecasts, it received 27.1 percent of the votes, seven percentage points more than the second-place CDU.

Elections across the EU

About 65 million people were eligible to vote in Germany, including about 1.4 million voters aged 16 and 17, who could participate in the elections for the first time after the change in the voting age.

Sunday was the last day of the European Parliamentary elections. Across the EU, over 360 million citizens were eligible to vote. They elected 720 MEPs for a five-year term.

DPA, AFP/viewer

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