In yesterday’s German federal election, the Christian Democrats dramatically increased their seat share and moderately increased their vote share, while their coalition partners, the classical liberal Free Democrats, lost all their seats for the first time in party history. Since the Christian Democrats came five seats short of a majority, it looks as if they will have to form a “grand coalition” with the Social Democrats, who improved slightly. A few observations:
- The right improved their vote share, despite the FDP’s losses, because of the good performance (but not quite enough to win seats) of the moderately euroskeptic Alternative for Germany. The left lost vote share. Nevertheless, the central result of this election will be that the German government will move to the left, replacing the FDP with the SPD as the CDU/CSU’s junior partner.
- Looking at the party list votes, 15.8% of the vote went to parties not winning seats. This is, by far, a new record.
- The foregoing outcomes are due to the relatively high 5% threshold parties face for winning seats in the Bundestag.
As for what this means for the future of the Eurozone, I have no idea. Status quo, I suppose. But if the economy remains poor in four years’ time, I think we can expect quite a shakeup. The two biggest parties are now in the hotseat.
UPDATE: These interesting charts show that the euroskeptic AfD received almost as many votes from former supporters of left parties as from the right. That may explain why the left, overall, is down.