Saturday, June 15, 2024

EU vote humiliates Scholz’s German coalition

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The center-right Christian Democrats were the clear victors on Sunday, winning 30.2 percent of the vote according to a projection for German public television.

The extreme-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) also put in a strong showing, finishing second with 16 percent, a gain of 5 percentage points compared to the 2019 EU election. The party has capitalized on growing concerns in the country over a huge influx of asylum seekers in the past decade.

Meanwhile, Scholz’s Social Democrats garnered less than 14 percent, an extraordinary decline for a party that has long been a pillar of Germany’s political landscape. In 2019, the party won just 15.8 percent, which at the time was also considered a disastrous result.

The latest loss is a particular humiliation for Scholz, who, despite his dismal approval ratings, insisted that he should be the face of the campaign alongside the party’s lead candidate for the Europe race, Katarina Barley. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The latest loss is a particular humiliation for Scholz, who, despite his dismal approval ratings, insisted that he should be the face of the campaign alongside the party’s lead candidate for the Europe race, Katarina Barley.

“It’s pretty clear we didn’t get any tailwind” from Berlin, Barley said after polls closed Sunday, calling the result “bitter.”

Finger-pointing aside, the real question is whether Scholz’s government will survive. German coalitions rarely collapse before the end of a term, but this one is atypical because it includes three parties instead of the customary two, which makes it more volatile.

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