The Strategist

Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union: The victory is near

05/15/2017 - 15:03

Voting in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia culminated in the victory of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) led by Angela Merkel. The CDU won 33% of the vote, ahead of its main rival, the Social Democratic Party of Germany with 31.2%. The gap looks minimal at first glance, yet experts and media consider this a success for Angela Merkel, as voting in the most populated states of the country took place just four months before the federal elections to the Bundestag.

World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum
The voting on the parliament of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia determined five parties to stay. Conservatives from the CDU, supported by 33% of voters, received 72 seats, Social Democrats - 69 seats.

For the Green Party, which is now part of the local ruling coalition, the vote ended with the loss of more than half the seats. They gained just 14 seats. The Free Democratic Party, on the contrary, was able to show its best result, having received 28 seats (this, most likely, will allow them to enter the ruling coalition together with the CDU). Finally, the protest populist party Alternative for Germany has become a newcomer in the regional parliament, being supported by 7.4% of voters (this is more than figures of the Green Party, leftists and the Pirate Party), which means 16 seats.

"Three-zero in favor of Merkel," - writes conservative publication Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Indeed, the elections in the country's most populous state (including large urban agglomerations like Cologne and Dusseldorf) followed two other regional polls in Saarland and Schleswig-Holstein. Chancellor’s party won in both states. Not surprisingly, many called the voting last Sunday a "test" for Angela Merkel since the even took place four months before the parliamentary elections. As Head of Angela Merkel’s office, Peter Altmaier, said today, Chancellor really entered this success as an asset, but she will try not to relax and will not celebrate a premature victory.

Projecting the results of voting in North Rhine-Westphalia to the federal level should, of course, be cautious. After all, Mrs. Merkel's party has already lost the elections in this land in 2010 and 2012. The last time showed the worst result in this region’s voting history - 26%. Yet, even after the parliamentary elections of 2013, Mrs. Merkel managed to retain the post of Federal Chancellor.

"The big goal for this year is a victory in September in the Bundestag election, which we want to win. We are having a holiday today, and are starting serious work for the benefit of Germany from tomorrow," Secretary General of the CDU Peter Tauber told journalists at the party’s headquarters in Berlin.

Concerning the reasons for the victory in the North Rhine-Westphalia elections, Tauber said that Armin Laschet’s team seemed to be at its best in the most important topics for the region, namely, "internal security, erroneous infrastructure and educational policy."

The general atmosphere at the headquarters after the announcement of the election results was festive. The election’s results encouraged the CDU members. They believe that the chances of winning the September 24 election in the Bundestag are great.