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2 minute read
23 Sep 2017
10:59 am

Six parties set to clear the threshold to parliament in German elections


The number of parties in the Bundestag could grow to six for the first time since 1949.

Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Germany will likely see the number of parties in the Bundestag grow to six for the first time since 1949, surveys published in the last week before the vote have confirmed.

Data released by the Allensbach Institute and the research group Forshungsgruppe Wahlen indicate that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union will shed more than five percent of its support to take 36 percent of votes. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) led by Martin Schulz is lying at around 22 percent, which sets it on course for its worst poll performance in the post-war era.

Four smaller parties, the Left, the Greens, the Free Democrats (FDP), and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), seem assured of winning more than the five percent required to secure seats in parliament.

Surveys give the AfD between 11 and 14 percent of voter support to become the first rightwing extremists to take up seats in the German legislature in decades in a seismic shift in the political landscape.

The party has built itself on unhappiness with Merkel’s 2015 decision to open German borders to nearly a million political refugees, and ensured that immigration remained a central campaign topic, with observers saying it shifted rhetoric from all contenders to the right in a bid to contain the AfD’s rise.

What the Bundestag will be like once it is home to a party that put up posters of a pregnant women with the legend that Germany, an ageing nation, did not need an influx of foreigners to have more young people as “we make our own”, is a question of disquiet for a country forever mindful of its past.

Merkel this week told Deutsche Welle she would never co-operate with the AfD, while SPD leader Martin Schulz, her rival for the chancellery, on Friday night in his last campaign speech called them “the shame of the nation”.

If Merkel and Schulz’s parties do not form another centrist coalition, the CDU will need to sign up to smaller parties to form a government.

With the FDP polling strongly enough to return to the Bundestag under new leader Christian Lindner after a four year absence, she could consider an oft-mooted but ideologically disconsonant three-party coalition with the pro-business party and the Greens. This so-called Jamaica coalition is a reference to the black, yellow, and green colours of the parties.

– African News Agency (ANA)