The center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) won 25.7% of the vote in the Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Germany. No winning party in a German national election had previously taken less than 31% of the vote. The German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, 63 old, is far from certain to become Germany’s next chancellor after Merkel’s 16 years in power. He served as the Labor and Social Affairs minister in Merkel’s first coalition government in the late 2000s. In 2011 he was elected mayor of Hamburg. Since 2018 he has served as the vice-chancellor and finance minister in Merkel’s grand coalition government.
Speaking on Monday he said forming a stronger and more sovereign European Union, as well as working on the good relationship between Germany and the United States, would be his key foreign policy goals if he does become chancellor. The coalition talks began, but such negotiations can last months. Both Armin Laschet and Scholz will be courting the same two parties: the environmentalist Greens, who were third with 14.8%; and the pro-business Free Democrats, who took 11.5% of the vote. Due to Germany’s complicated electoral system, a full breakdown of the result by seats in parliament was still pending. Germany’s leading parties have significant differences when it comes to taxation and tackling climate change.