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BERLIN – According to preliminary results, Germany’s two largest parties have emerged from Sunday’s elections in what amounts to a dead heat. The first expected results released by the national television station ARD put the country’s center – left Social Democrats at 24.9%, just two tenths of a percentage point ahead of Merkel’s center – right party.
Another exit poll released by TV station ZDF showed a slightly larger gap between the two top parties, with the Social Democrats, SPD, at 25.7% and the center-right party, the Christian Democratic Union / Christian Social Union, at 24.6 %. Although the results are only preliminary, they underline how difficult it will be for Germany’s top parties to form a coalition government. And every time one is formed, it will probably be a tripartite coalition, the first in recent memory.
However, hours after the polls closed, it was unclear what form the coalition would take, or whether it would be led by the Social Democrats’ chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz or by Armin Laschet, the candidate from Merkel’s CDU party.
“We as the Christian Democratic Union have received a clear mandate from our constituents that a vote for the Union is a vote against a left-wing government,” Laschet said to cheers from party members shortly after the first results were announced. “And therefore we will do everything we can to form a German government under the leadership of the Christian Democratic Union.”
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Meanwhile, at the headquarters of the Social Democratic Party, Chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz spoke to hundreds of jubilant supporters. “To be pragmatic, to be optimistic and to join ranks: that’s what we want to show in the time to come, and that’s what’s important,” he said. “And I’m sure the citizens of this country will be happy that they voted the way they did when they voted for the Social Democrats. We are delivering on our promises. So let’s wait for the final election results, but then we’ll get down. for business. “
The Social Democrats seemed to be making big gains compared to the last German election in 2017, but they were not alone. The environmentalist Green Party also seemed to receive more votes than last time, but failed to have its own shot at the chancellery. The CDU / CSU lost support and is heading for the worst result since its formation in 1945.
Given the narrow margins, it is possible to tabulate the final election results in Sunday’s election will take longer than expected, as well as the more difficult work of negotiating between the ruling parties to form a new coalition government.
Sunday’s election was the first in Germany’s post – war history when a sitting chancellor did not stand for re-election. Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to step down when the next government is formed, but after an election as close as this, it could take many months.
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