By Sana Elouazi
By Sana Elouazi
Rabat – The German national elections have concluded in favor of Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Party (CDU), who won 33 percent of the vote, assuring her a fourth term as chancellor in Germany.
However, for Merkel the victory is somewhat hollow, as the CDU received its poorest turnout since 1949, according German TV channel ZDF.
The German chancellor recognized shortly after the vote results were announced that she had hoped for “better outcome.” At a press conference following the election, Merkel said, “We must not forget that we are emerging from an exceptionally difficult legislature, so I am pleased that we have achieved the objectives of our electoral campaign.”
The elections mark a turning point in the political landscape of Germany, as this is the first time in the country’s postwar era that a populist radical-right party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), will enter the Budestag, the German parliament. Despite internal rivalries, the AfD has become third-largest party after receiving 13 percent of the vote, making it a sizeable force of opposition to Merkel’s immigration policy.
After wining 94 seats in the 709 seat federal parliament, the party has vowed to fight “an invasion of foreigners” into the country, said Alexander Gauland, the co-leader of the AfD.
The surprise growth of the AfD is a new challenge for Merkel, who is now seeing backlash from her “generous policy” of welcoming an estimated 200,000 Syrian refugees into the country, which has made her a target for nationalist anti-immigration groups.
The AfD was congratulated for its historic win by Marine le Pen, the president of the French National Front. On the other hand, “the relative underperformance” of CDU was “bad news,” according French President Emmanuel Macron, who wishes to seal a strong alliance with Merkel in Europe, indicated French news outlet le Parisien.
The German chancellor will now begin forming a new coalition, which will be a challenge given the loss of her coalition partner the Social Democrats. Merkel likely has no option but to seek a coalition with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democratic Party.