The people of Germany went to the polls on September 26, 2021, to determine the 20th Bundestag. Voters in Berlin, the capital of Germany, went to the polling station early in the morning to cast their votes. After the end of the voting process, all eyes turned to the voting results. The Social Democrats (SPD) received 25.9 percent of the vote, and the Union of Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) 24.1 percent, according to results from 299 constituencies announced earlier Monday. According to the results, the first party in Germany’s history received less than 31 percent of the votes. In this article, the German election results were examined more closely and the effects of these elections on Turkey were evaluated.
Key Words: Elections, Germany, Olaf Scholz, Social Democratic Party, Turkey.
1. 2021 German Federal Elections
Judging by the results from 299 constituencies in the early hours of Monday, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) received 25.9 percent of the vote, and the Union of Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) 24.1 percent (Euronews, 2021). In the first federal elections in Germany after the 16-year Merkel term, Merkel’s party, the Christian Democrats Union, left the ballot box as the second party. The Green Party received 14.7 percent of the vote, while the Liberal Democrats (FDP) received 11.5 percent. Compared to the previous elections, for the first time in the history of Germany, the winning party received less than 31 percent of the votes. Since the Second World War, the Christian Democrats received the lowest number of votes in history in the election of 2017 (33%) and this election (24%). The Social Democratic Party (SPD), on the other hand, increased its vote rates compared to 2017 and came out of the ballot box as the first party for the first time (BBC News, 2021). However, in the 2017 elections, there was a great decrease in the rate of votes.
Olaf Scholz, the Social Democrats candidate and Finance Minister in the current coalition, said the voters ‘wanted to see him as the new chancellor’ (Euronews, 2021). Olaf Scholz, 62, the candidate of the Social Democratic Party, serves as Deputy Chancellor and Minister of Finance in Merkel’s Government. In other words, Scholz was both Merkel’s assistant and opponent. In addition, Scholz, the former mayor of Hamburg, handled the crisis well during the Coronavirus epidemic (BBC News, 2021).
After narrowly winning its first national elections since 2005, the German Social Democratic Party is preparing for the process of forming a new government that will end the conservative rule under Angela Merkel. Olaf Scholz has said he plans to reach a coalition compromise before Christmas. Christian Democrat rival Armin Laschet says that despite leading conservatives to the worst election results ever, he can still try to form a government (Euronews, 2021). Germany, one of the 5 most developed economies in the world, is governed by coalitions, so it is certain that a coalition will be formed again. Because no single party can reach a majority of 371 people to form a government in the Bundestag, the 740-member German Federal Parliament (DW, 2021). Until the coalition is formed, Merkel will remain head of Europe’s largest economy throughout the negotiations.
2. How Will Germany Form a Coalition?
There are two predictions about how Germany will form a coalition. The first projected Christian Democrats will change their roles with the Social Democrats and the ‘Social Democrat-Christian Democrat Grand Coalition’ will be established. The second projected coalition is the one that Olaf Scholz also desires to be formed with the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats (BBC News, 2021). The answer to this question is important because coalition partners can have a voice in many fields from foreign policy to financial policies by taking the ministry. If we define Germany as the locomotive country of the European Union, we can say that the smallest policy change in this country will affect the whole of Europe and in the same direction will affect Turkey (DW, 2021).
3. How Will the German Elections Affect Turkey?
The relations between Turkey and Germany are important in terms of both the Turkish origin minority living in Germany and the economic relations between Turkey and Germany (DW, 2021). Both countries affect each other mutually. In particular, the immigration problem is one of the most important issues for Turkey, which is a transit country, and Germany, which is a welfare country. At this point, it will be a must to reach an agreement. They are obliged to have good relations with Turkey on the issue of refugees, and according to many different sources, the views of German diplomats are also in this direction. Olaf Scholz is known as a moderate politician. Therefore, it is not thought that he will follow policies that will change everything radically. However, although it is not certain, it is estimated that in the Scholz period, sharp steps can be taken in the fight against climate change and global warming only.
Contrary to the polls, with her departure, the historical defeat of Merkel’s party; in addition to this, while it was talked about that the Social Democratic Party, which is the second-largest party in Germany, would be deleted from the political scene, its emergence as the first party in the elections created great astonishment in the whole world.
The votes from the ballot boxes and the coalition negotiations will determine what kind of coalition government will be formed in Germany. If we state that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been conducting a foreign policy mostly through bilateral dialogue with the leaders of the countries for the last 10 years, we can say that from now on, Germany and their own priorities, instead of Merkel, against Turkey. However, it is expected that there will not be radical changes in Germany’s policies towards Turkey in the short term.
Prepared by Sudenur Yıldız for The FEAS Journal.
BBC News. (2021, September 27th). Almanya seçimleri: Olaf Scholz kimdir, Sosyal Demokrat siyasetçi partisini nasıl seçimde ilk sıraya taşıdı? Retrieved October 2nd, 2021, from BBC NEWS: https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-58705718
BBC News. (2021, September 27th). Almanya Seçimleri: Sosyal Demokratlar seçimleri kazandı, Merkel’in partisi tarihinin en düşük oyunu aldı, gözler koalisyon pazarlıklarında. Retrieved October 3rd, 2021, from BBC NEWS: https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-58702421
DW. (2021, October 1st). Almanya Seçimleri: Türkiye ile ilişkilerde yeni dönem nasıl olacak? Retrieved October 3rd, 2021, from DW: https://www.dw.com/tr/almanya-se%C3%A7imleri-t%C3%BCrkiye-ile-ili%C5%9Fkilerde-yeni-d%C3%B6nem-nas%C4%B1l-olacak/av-59375483
DW. (2021, September 26th). Türk-Alman İlişkileri/ “Almanya Türkiye’nin Avrupa’ya açılan kapısı”. Retrieved from DW: https://www.dw.com/tr/t%C3%BCrk-alman-ili%C5%9Fkileri-almanya-t%C3%BCrkiyenin-avrupaya-a%C3%A7%C4%B1lan-kap%C4%B1s%C4%B1/av-59284863
DW, O. S. (no date). Olaf Scholz. Olaf Scholz. DW.
Euronews. (2021, September 27th). Almanya seçim sonuçları: Türkiye ile ilişkilerde nasıl etkileri olacak? Retrieved October 3rd, 2021, from euronews.: https://tr.euronews.com/2021/09/27/almanya-secim-sonuclar-turkiye-ile-iliskilerde-nas-l-etkileri-olacak
Euronews. (2021, September 27th). Almanya Seçimleri: Sosyal Demokratlar az farkla Merkel’in partisini geçti. Retrieved October 2nd, 2021, from euronews.: https://tr.euronews.com/2021/09/26/almanya-secimleri-sand-k-c-k-s-anketlerine-gore-cdu-csu-ile-sdp-yuzde-25-er-oy-ald