The mantra before this election – as before the last and the penultimate – was: There must be no continuation. What was meant were standstill, inertia to reform, the permanent state of crisis management. But fate is subtle. It could be that the Germans have given their vote again this time. Not on purpose, but as a consequence.
This is shown first by looking at some constants. In Berlin it will probably stay with red-green-dark red, in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania with Manuela Schwesig, in the south of the east with a strong AfD. The parties in the middle are drawing closer together, and the preferences of the voters are distributed more evenly.
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Above all, there was one party – that of Bündnis90 / Die Grünen – which campaigned for “real awakening”, for “renewal” and “social change”. She received almost 15 percent. The mood in the country is consequently more averse to change than the mantra that we shouldn’t go on like this suggests. The upheavals caused by the financial, refugee and corona crisis may have increased many people’s longing for predictability and stability.
Neither Scholz nor Laschet have a clear government mandate
Now it’s about traffic lights or Jamaica. As such, both tripartite alliances would be a novelty at the federal level. The more parties form a coalition, the smaller the content-related overlap naturally. In this respect, traffic lights like Jamaica symbolize the secret go-ahead mood in large parts of the population.
Another obstacle to an unexpected urge for action is that the possible Chancellor, Olaf Scholz and Armin Laschet, not a really convincing government mandate to have. Around a quarter of the vote went to the SPD and Union. Never before has a party that provides the chancellor in Germany had such a low approval rate.
But not only that. Scholz was defeated within his own party in the battle for the chairmanship. How much backing he has is uncertain. For Laschet, on the other hand, who is responsible for the CDU’s historically worst result, many party members at best still feel pity. It would be a medium-sized miracle if such weaknesses in government responsibility suddenly turned into strengths.
Climate protection without a tax increase – how is that supposed to work?
So whoever rules the country will probably do it in first gear with the handbrake on. Because it is also not to be seen how the Greens and FDP – whether at traffic lights or Jamaica – complement each other sensibly instead of ideologically blocking. How does the eco-liberal bloc intend to finance ambitious climate protection that really deserves the name when tax increases and violations of the debt brake are basically taboo? The Greens and the FDP find it difficult to come together on key issues in German politics.
The most important Tagesspiegel articles for the 2021 federal election:
This election confirms again that the Germans shy away from the risk. They seek the indolence in politics, which they condemn just as passionately. They nod eagerly when reforms are called for, but instinctively reject the zeal for reform. If it is true that Germans always got the chancellors they deserved, they are evidently very satisfied with themselves and the world.