Germany will have to decide its future after the elections to replace former Chancellor Angela Merkel, a panelist said at an event on September 29.
The event, titled “German Election Roundtable – Looking to the Future, Looking Back”, focused on the record turnout of young people that fueled Germany’s most diverse election results at this event. day and the future implications of the result of the vote. The event was hosted by the BMW Center for German and European Studies (CGES), a School of Foreign Service (SFS) center for the study of European affairs and transatlantic relations in the United States.
September 26, Germany tenuous his federal elections to choose the 20th German parliament. The Social Democrats (SPD) won the most parliamentary seats with 206 elected, followed by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Greens. The new chancellor who will replace CDU member Merkel will be announced after the meeting and the votes of the new parliament.
When Merkel chose not to run for office, her decision led to a paradigm shift in which new voters could imagine a different chancellor, according to panelist Joyce Mushaben, an expert on EU citizenship and migration policies (EU), in women’s leadership and in the welfare state. reforms.
“This is the first time in 16 years that no Merkel is a candidate, so for young voters, for anyone under the age of 20, they only knew Angela Merkel as chancellor,” Mushaben said during the event. “They didn’t know that someone else could be chancellor, much less that a man could become chancellor.”
Youth voting was particularly influential in this election, with the Free Democratic Party (FDP), which favors free market economic principles, and the Greens, who are environmentalists, getting the most support and votes from young people voting for the first time.
According to Eric Langenbacher, a specialist in German and European memorial politics, it was surprising that young German voters aligned with the FDP rather than the Greens, as young people tend to care more about climate change and environmental issues than older people.
“The younger cohorts prefer the liberals – the FDP – a little more than they did the Greens,” Langenbacher said at the event. “I guess what I would say is that although the climate issues are very important, young Germans are also pragmatic.”
The election presented the most diverse field of candidates in the country, reflecting the demographic makeup of Germany, according to Mushaben.
“We have the highest number since the founding of the Federal Republic of candidates under 35 running for the Bundestag, and an unprecedented number of women candidates as ‘Spitzenkandidaten’ or top candidates,” said said Mushaben.
According to Mushaben, Merkel left a legacy as a leader who established Germany’s role as a key player in European politics.
“I think Merkel is going to be really missed at European level, and I think that’s the most important point because when you talk to the Germans they don’t quite understand what we are saying,” Mushaben said. . “I said Merkel moved Germany from the regional stage to the global stage.”
It doesn’t matter who ultimately becomes the new Chancellor, they will inherit some of Merkel’s energy decisions, including Nord Stream 2, which is natural gas. pipeline from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, according to Jeff Anderson, a specialist in European integration, transatlantic relations, global cities and post-industrial reconstruction.
“I don’t think, however, that there will be a reversal on Nord Stream 2,” Anderson said at the event. “I think it’s a deal made, not only because of what has already been done on this project in Germany, but also because of the US position now, which is basically to let it go from there. ‘before.”
According to Mushaben, Europeans expect a lot from the new German Chancellor, because Merkel has been a constant force at German, European and global levels.
“I think the world will miss her as a balancing force,” Mushaben said.