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Looking ahead to a post-Merkel Europe

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Happy week to all of you and thought I'd talk a little bit about Germany and Europe. Because of course, we just had elections in Germany, 16 years of Angela Merkel's rule coming to an end - by far the strongest leader that Germany has seen post-war, Europe has seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union. And indeed in many ways, the world has seen in the 21st century. Xi Jinping, of course, runs a much bigger country and has consolidated much more power, but in terms of the free world, it's been Angela Merkel.

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OK, Germany, time to choose

Germany's historic moment of choice is finally here, and voters will stream to the polls on Sunday for the country's first post-World War II vote without a national leader seeking re-election. They will elect new members of the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament. The leader of the party that wins the most seats will then try to secure a majority of seats by drawing other parties into a governing partnership. He or she will then replace Angela Merkel as Germany's chancellor.

If the latest opinion polls are right, the center-left Social Democrats will finish first. In coming weeks, they look likely to form a (potentially unwieldy) governing coalition with the Green Party and the pro-business Free Democrats, which would be Germany's first-ever governing alliance of more than two parties.

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German election campaign full of drama and uncertainty

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What is the outlook for the upcoming German election?

Well, that's a dramatic election campaign if you have ever seen one. We've seen the CDU, the main governing - the Merkel party, their candidate has been faltering quite heavily. You see the SPD candidate presenting himself as the responsible successor to Merkel. And we are going to have an election night that's going to be highly uncertain with a number of options open for which kind of government will be in Germany for the next four years. But days left to go, so lots of drama ahead.

All German bets are off

You might think this looks like a traditional German election. Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right alliance and the center-left Social Democrats are the clear favorites to lead the next coalition government. Polls show that neither party will win a majority of seats in Germany's parliament, so smaller parties — like the Greens, the pro-business Free Democrats, and the far-left Die Linke — might each become governing partners. (The far-right Alternative for Deutschland party is highly unlikely to join a coalition.)

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