On September 24th, voters will decide whether Angela Merkel deserves a fourth term as Chancellor or, if the SDP (Social Democratic Party) should win back control of the country, 15 years after their last election victory. So you can learn what you need to know about the election, below are some of the key points about the upcoming vote.

How long has Angela Merkel been Chancellor?

Angela Merkel has been Chancellor for 12 years having served since 2005. If she wins this election and serves until the next one she will have been chancellor for 16 years and, leader of The Christian Democratic Union for 21 years.

What are the British equivalents of the German parties?

In Germany, the CDU are considered ‘center-right’ and ‘Conservative’, yet they have key differences with the British Conservative Party, for example, they are pro-EU and support their countries ‘benefits’ system. The main opposition, the SDP, are similar to the British Labour Party in that they want: stricter bank regulations, higher taxes and greater social justice.

What electoral system is used?

Germany use a system of proportional representation to elect members to their parliament  —  the Bundestag. When Germans go to vote they vote twice, for a party and, for a candidate (even though the candidates are usually a member of a party). The votes for the candidates decide who will represent the 299 districts in the Bundestag. Once all these candidates have been elected, Party members are added until the breakdown of the Bundestag matches the vote share for each party. Though, parties that receive less than 5% of the vote get no representation. This system means we don’t know exactly how many representatives there will be in the Bundestag.

Will the winning party be able to govern alone?

Germany’s proportional representation system makes it hard for one party to win an outright majority, although, Merkel came within just 5 seats of doing so in 2013. Instead, whoever wins will likely govern as part of a coalition. Below are some possible coalition options.


Who will win?

After an initial poll boost for the SDP, following Martin Schulz appointment as leader, that led to them drawing even with the CDU, Merkel has now regained her lead, the SDP lagging behind by 15 percentage points. Merkel’s strong debate performance last week will have done little to hinder her lead.

Who will pass the 5% threshold?

In the last election, the FDP (the equivalent to the British Liberal Democrats) lost all their 93 seats in Parliament after winning just 4.8% of the vote. The newly formed AfD also fell short on 4.7% of the vote. This time round the FDP are expected to win representation, currently polling between 7–9%. While, The AfD are also expected to win seats in the Bundestag, polling between 8–11%. But, it should be noted that the AfD have lost a lot of momentum, having once registered 15% support.

The AfD — who have taken a sharp turn right under Frauke Petry’s leadership — could underperform their poll numbers, as this has been the case for most right wing parties in Europe following Trump’s inauguration.🔷




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Politics writer for PoliticsMeansPolitics.com and Backbench UK - particularly interested in Brexit, US politics, and the Labour Party.