Following the German elections, Christian Blasberg analyzes the results, party by party, with new scenarios and coalitions exclusively for LUISS Open.
The Christian Democratic Union’s results are, beyond question, a defeat. The party, standing at around 33% (-9%), remains the strongest in the Bundestag, and Chancellor Merkel will be able to form a government once again, but her position in Germany and within the European Union appears weakened. The coalition with the FDP and the Green Party in the future government may prove to be extremely difficult, despite the fact that there is a long history of government collaboration with the Liberals. Merkel believed that the relatively successful migration and integration policy of 2015 would convince citizens of the effectiveness of her humanitarian approach at the time, underestimating the importance of the identity and cultural aspects that takes precedence, for so many people, over the economic elements of the migration issue. Moving to the right of the political spectrum seems unavoidable, but one must wonder whether Merkel would be believable in the venture of leading such a rearrangement of her own party.
The Christian Social Union are at their all-time low, with 38% of votes in Bavaria. They paid the price for not insisting thoroughly on their distinction from the CDU on the migration issue. In 2015, they had carried out a tough stance of border closure for migrants, risking the split from their sister party, until they finally reconciled with the CDU before the elections. Now the conflict between the two parties could be exacerbated once more (and 2018 will see a general election in Bavaria) and the CSU could dictate a tougher line to the CDU, that the latter will have to follow if it wants to recover the votes it has lost against the AfD. Otherwise, the split could be really around the corner, along with the expansion of the CSU across the entire German territory.