Minggu, 26 September 2021

Voting underway in German election to find Angela Merkel's replacement - ABC News

Germans have gone to the polls in a national election too close to call, with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) mounting a strong challenge to retiring Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.

Ms Merkel has been in power since 2005 but plans to step down after the election, making the vote an era-changing event to set the future course of Europe's largest economy.

A fractured electorate means that after the election, leading parties will sound each other out before embarking on more formal coalition negotiations that could take months, leaving Ms Merkel, 67, in charge in a caretaker role.

Ms Merkel has backed her successor at the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Armin Laschet, 

"We all sense that this is a very important federal election," Mr Laschet told journalists after voting in his home constituency of Aachen.

However, many were unsure if the votes Mr Laschet cast himself will count as his ballot papers were visible as he put them in the ballot box, something that is not allowed under German law.

Armin Laschet casts his vote into a ballot box in the German national election.
Armin Laschet's votes were visible on his ballot paper when he voted, casting doubt on whether his votes will be counted.(

Reuters: Thilo Schmuelgen


It was not immediately clear whether election officials in Mr Laschet’s constituency in Aachen had noticed that his paper was folded wrongly, a moment that was caught by cameras, or whether the faux pas would have any consequences.

Running against Mr Laschet is Olaf Scholz of the SPD, the finance minister in Ms Merkel's right-left coalition who won all three televised debates between the leading candidates.

Mr Scholz, 63, has seen his party's lead over the conservatives squeezed to a margin too close to call in final opinion polls, leaving Mr Laschet with a chance of clinching a narrow victory.

"I hope that as many citizens as possible will go and vote and make a very strong result for the SPD possible and give me the mandate to become the next chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany," Mr Scholz said after casting a ballot in his own constituency of Potsdam near Berlin.

The election is expected to yield a splintered parliament, which will force the winner to form a three-way coalition to secure a majority.

The most likely coalition scenarios see either the SPD or the conservative CDU/CSU bloc — whoever comes first — forming an alliance with the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP).

Mr Scholz told supporters in Potsdam on Saturday that his preferred outcome was for the SPD and Greens to secure a majority to rule alone without a third partner.

Both the conservatives and the FDP reject a European "debt union" and want to ensure that joint European Union borrowing to finance the bloc's coronavirus recovery package remains a one-off.

The SPD has talked about taking steps towards a fiscal union.

The Greens favour a common European fiscal policy to support investment in the environment, research, infrastructure and education.

Mr Scholz has not ruled out a left-leaning coalition with the Greens and the Left party, which wants to pull Germany out of NATO, a red line for the SPD.


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Who will replace Germany's Angela Merkel?

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2021-09-26 13:44:21Z

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