Germany’s conservatives are in disarray as key allies fall out.
Angela Merkel’s key Bavarian allies declared Tuesday that centre-left candidate Olaf Scholz had the best chance of becoming Germany’s next chancellor, placing the conservatives on the verge of joining the opposition benches following the voting shambles.
In Sunday’s election, Armin Laschet’s CDU-CSU conservative alliance received its worst election result in postwar Germany, with 24.1 percent, trailing Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD) with 25.7 percent.
However, Laschet, the CDU’s leader and the conservative bloc’s leading candidate to succeed Angela Merkel, has stated that his party would continue to seek a governing coalition and is open to negotiations with the Greens and the liberal FDP.
The Bavarian CSU pulled the rug out from under Laschet by claiming the SPD should be first in line to form the next government after huddling for the first meeting of its freshly elected MPs on Tuesday.
“The SPD is not far ahead, but it is ahead of the (conservative bloc),” said CSU parliamentary leader Alexander Dobrindt, adding that the alliance should expect other parties to “talk to the SPD first.”
“At the moment, Olaf Scholz definitely has a higher chance of becoming chancellor,” Bavarian premier Markus Soeder stated, emphasizing that the election result “must be acknowledged, it is a basic law of democracy.”
The CSU’s attitude foreshadows a tumultuous session later Tuesday, when its freshly elected MPs join those of the CDU for the first time since the election.
Despite admitting that he was “not satisfied” with the election result, Laschet argued that “no party” – not even the Social Democrats – could claim a mandate to govern as a result of Sunday’s vote.
However, even inside his own party, calls for Laschet to acknowledge defeat and resign grew louder Tuesday.
“You’ve been defeated. Please provide some information. On Twitter, Ellen Demuth, a CDU member of the Rhineland-Palatinate state parliament, wrote, “Avoid more damage to the #CDU and resign.”
“We were defeated in the election. Tilman Kuban, the head of the CDU’s youth wing, stated, “Full stop.”
Laschet, who was elected as the CDU’s leader in January, was for a long time the overwhelming favorite to succeed Angela Merkel when she steps down following the election on Sunday.
However, as a result of a series of gaffes, including being captured on camera smiling in the background during a sombre homage to flood victims, his party’s popularity began to plummet.
The outcome on Sunday is the first time. Brief News from Washington Newsday.