Tuesday, October 3

German Social Democrats roll in the Saarland regional elections

The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) has swept the Saarland regional elections held this Sunday. In the first electoral test in Germany after the federal ones last September, the SPD has obtained more than 43% of the votes in this state, according to the exit polls released by the public television channels ARD and ZDF. In the absence of definitive results, the Social Democrats remain at the gates of an absolute majority that would allow them to govern alone.

The big losers of this electoral appointment are the conservatives of the CDU, whose result is around 28% of the votes, according to projections, who also predict an electoral setback of more than 13 points compared to the Social Democratic advance of 14. The still regional prime minister, the Christian Democrat Tobias Hans, recognized that the result is a “bitter personal defeat” and will most likely resign as head of the CDU in the Saarland.

The Social Democratic candidate Anke Rehlinger is the other side of the coin: the hitherto Regional Economy Minister of the Grand Coalition of the CDU and SPD led by Tobias Hans has won the voters’ trust with a speech with social accent and that is committed to job creation in a relatively poor and demographically weak state.

minority parties

The Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) are the other parties that get parliamentary representation. The eco-liberals, who co-govern at the federal level with the social democrats and the liberals of the FDP in the Traffic Light Coalition, they improve slightly and obtain 5.5% of the votes. AfD will complete the parliament with a similar result and a slight setback. The FDP was struggling at the close of this edition to overcome the threshold of 5% percent that allows entry to parliament.

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Special mention deserves the Die Linke coalition of post-communists and former social democrats, which lost more than 10 points and became an extra-parliamentary force. Die Linke had historically had a certain pull in the Saarland thanks to the figure of Oskar Lafontaine, a former Social Democrat who led the party in the state where he is from. His recent departure from Die Linke and the constant infighting Within the formation they have taken their toll on a party that entered the Bundestag by the hair in the last federal elections.

Defeat for Merz

The landslide Social Democratic victory in the Saarland is not only important for the SPD because it confirms a recovery that it already showed in last year’s federal elections, but also because it marks the end of more than two decades of consecutive governments led by Christian Democrats in the region. This traditional conservative bastion swings to the centre-left.

The SPD victory can also be interpreted as Friedrich Merz’s first defeat as CDU chairman. The Christian Democrat leader was hardly personally involved in the Saarland campaign given the dismal prospects drawn by the electoral polls in recent weeks. The first date with the polls since Merz heads the conservative party, he has certified that he has not been able to reverse the crisis that the CDU is experiencing after Merkel’s departure from political life.

Related news

Those of the Sarre are the first of the four regional elections that Germany celebrates this year: North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein will vote next May and Lower Saxony will vote in October.

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