Teenage girls draped in German flags attend a right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) election rally in Haldensleben, Germany on May 28, 2021.
Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images
The outcome of Sunday’s German federal election seems impossible to predict, with a recent poll indicating that a significant number of Germans have yet to decide who to vote for.
A poll conducted last week by the Allensbach Institute found that 40% of 1,259 people did not know how they would vote. A poll carried out for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper also found that the majority were unprepared for any chancellor candidates or their political parties.
It comes as the latest opinion polls point to a very close race.
The Politico poll indicates that the SPD will receive 25% of the vote, the CDU / CSU 21% of the vote and the Green Party is expected to receive 15% of the vote. It is followed by the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) and the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), both with 11%. Die Linke of the far left is seen with 7% of the vote.
Many voters face a dilemma as Chancellor Angela Merkel, in office for 16 years, prepares to step down.
In the previous elections, the Christian Democratic Union and its conservative Christian Social Union (CDU / CSU) faction won relatively easily, but failed to appeal in the same way to the voters of the “successor”. chosen by Merkel ”, Armin Lasquet. Because of this, it seems to be decreasing rapidly. .
“We don’t really have office staff,” Thomas Gschend, professor in the political science department at the University of Mannheim, told CNBC on Thursday.
“The CDU tried to stage their campaign that Lachette was Merkel’s natural successor, but people didn’t buy the story because she’s not Merkel, she’s not like her. A lot of people who love Merkel don’t necessarily like her. were party supporters, so if you take the place of the party leader, a lot of people may think, “I won’t vote for this party anymore.”
These voters, Gschwend said, are now “ready to catch up.”
Merkel’s departure could accelerate the decline in support for the CDU / CSU seen in the last election, indicating that German voters and especially younger voters are hungry for change.
It came to the fore in this year’s voter polls, with the Green Party leading the polls at one point in April. This was followed by the left-wing Social Democratic Party (SPD), which has maintained its lead over the CDU / CSU in recent weeks.
Ralf Stegner, SPD politician and leader of the opposition in the Schleswig-Holstein region, told CNBC on Thursday that German voters wanted a new chancellor who could replace Merkel.
“Most people want to see someone at the top of government who can do the job and keep the country together. These are difficult times and there is a lot to do in the context of the international crisis and the problem of the coronavirus and Europe and our country have a lot of challenges ahead of us. “
“German voters measure their candidates for chancellor by their ability to meet international challenges and how they will be on stage with the American or Russian presidents or the Chinese leaders,” he said.
Stegner noted that this factor could give SPD candidate Olaf Scholz, who, given his role as German finance minister and chancellor, is used to high-level politics, which has the greatest advantage over his rivals – the CDU / CSU. K Armin Lasquet is the main contender. and Annalena Berbock of the Green Party.
With a coalition government most likely given the expected tight vote, pundits are now speculating on what training he might take.
Eurasia Group director Europe Naz Masraf said on Wednesday that the odds of becoming chancellor led by SPD candidate Olaf Scholz were now 60%, compared to 40% for center-right CDU / CSU Armin Laszt.
The consultation on political risks put the possibility of a so-called “traffic light” coalition (with the Greens and Free Democrats (FDP)) led by the SPD as a post-election scenario, giving it a probability of 45 %. It was noted that the CDU / CSU-led “Jamaican” government (along with the Greens and the FDP) had probably fallen to 30%.
Despite trying to revive Merkel’s electoral chances, the CDU / CSU coalition could find itself in the cold when the coalition talks take place. It would be a blow to the coalition, which has dominated German politics since 1949.
The 2021 vote is unpredictable for a number of reasons, including the high number of postal votes expected this year.
Factors to watch on election day will be whether the recent modest improvement in CDU / CSU polls will translate into a last-minute turnaround on election day, said Carsten Nickel, deputy director of research for Tenno Intelligence, as well as the situation of the Greens. .
Still, he told CNBC on Thursday that it was very difficult to predict which party would benefit undecided voters.
“We have the suggestion that up to 40% of voters still haven’t made up their minds, which is ultimately a reminder of this defining moment in German politics,” he told CNBC’s Street Signs. “After 16 years of stability, consistency and perfectly predictable election campaigns, all of that certainty is gone and we are looking at a close race.”
Forming a coalition is expected to be a long-term affair, given the differences between parties on issues such as fiscal policy and climate goals.
This has already caused controversy during the election campaign.
For example, Lachette said that Scholz and the SPD may pose a security risk if they allow the far-left Die Link party, which wants to convert NATO into a coalition government. For his part, Scholz said he was open to talks with any party except the right-wing AfD, provided there is a strong commitment to NATO.
Speaking to CNBC on Wednesday, Scholz reiterated his commitment to the military alliance, noting that “as Germany’s finance minister we have increased our military spending budget much more than before. It was 37% growth and it is something that I did from the bottom of my heart because we need a very strong defense infrastructure in Germany with our partners in the EU and NATO. “