Updated: Feb 2, 2021
By Jack Turner
Politics & Current Affairs
As introductory weeks go, this has certainly been a tumultuous one. Germany has been in the run up to Sunday’s and suffice to say, it's been a stressful week for Angela Merkel’s CDU party, and her coalition partner, Andrea Nahles’ SPD. Why are they so significant? Well, because local elections tend to signify the mood among the wider electorate, and this election is taking place amidst a dramatic loss of support for the two major parties - the CDU and the SPD. A bad result would only increase pressure on Merkel to step down as leader of the CDU.
Sunday's results will have Angela Merkel breathing a sigh of relief: Despite the CDU losing 11% of its voters, the first official projections have the CDU on 27.4%, enough to form a fresh coalition government, and a result not as disastrous as some polls had previously predicted.
Meanwhile, The Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (Greens) looked to make significant gains, though the prospect of an all new and only slightly humorously dubbed ‘Jamaika coalition’ is now an unlikely scenario. The Greens were left celebrating a gain of 8.4% , while the SPD's struggles continued, losing 11.1% of their vote. For further context, here are two insightful pieces on the downfall of the SPD and the resurgent Green Party respectively, as well as the Full election results and some interesting graphics here.
Elsewhere, Germany bore witness to fervent, rivalling protests on the issue of mining. Due to a planned mining expansion that would potentially signal the felling of the last remaining 200 hectares of the ancient Hambach Forest, over 5,000 environmentalists came out in force. Conversely, over 20,000 miners protested the planned phase-out of coal-fired power generation, which would see significant job losses. It remains to be seen whose worst fears may be realised this week.