Germany Election Who will be the head of government?

Who will be the head of government? The votes are far from being counted, the final result is still open. But the struggle for power has already begun.

The initial situation is as complicated as it is surprising: According to the latest projections, the SPD is ahead of the CDU – with a growing lead, but significantly closer than the polls predicted. The Greens did worse than expected. The FDP keeps its double-digit result – a figure that the others have to reckon with.

And that is exactly what is needed now: juggling percentage points and calculating which coalitions are possible. Even if all votes from the polling station and postal voting are not counted until early Monday morning, the game “Who with whom?” already started.

Supporters of the CDU / CSU react after the announcement of the first forecasts for the outcome of the federal election at their party’s election party in the Konrad-Adenauer-Haus.

“Jamaica” would be the variant that the Union would like best. CDU general secretary Paul Ziemiak brought them into play on WDR television: It is about the best policy for the country – “first the country, then the party. But there are the Greens who have a hard time with the FDP – so the outcome is more than uncertain. FDP boss Lindner nevertheless let it be known in a television interview that they wanted to talk to everyone – who knows what opportunities there will still be.

Both candidates feel they have a calling
Olaf Scholz, finance minister and SPD candidate for chancellor, waves next to his wife Britta Ernst during the election party in the Willy-Brandt-Haus. Will Scholz become chancellor? Or is it Laschet?

Before the negotiation, however, there is the mandate to form a government. The problem: Both Olaf Scholz from the SPD and Armin Laschet from the CDU feel they have a calling. The SPD continues to grow from extrapolation to extrapolation and leaves the CDU behind. Chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz was pleased with “a clear signal that the voters have given”.

But for CDU candidate Laschet it is just as clear that he has to become head of government. “A vote for the Union is a vote against a left-wing federal government,” he said in the evening. “That is why we will do everything in our power to form a federal government under the leadership of the Union.”

It’s about a lot, about top positions and coalitions: a power poker that can be very protracted. It is quite possible that months will pass – after all, it took 172 days in 2017 until the government was formed and Chancellor Merkel was sworn in. The Christian Democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia do not want to wait that long. On the evening of the election they announced that they now want to start the election campaign for the state elections.

They are not until May 2022, but the CDU has a problem: it has lost the top candidate. Worse still: the prime minister. Because Laschet announced before the federal election that he would not return to North Rhine-Westphalia – regardless of how the election ended and, if necessary, as an opposition leader.

The candidates are brought into position
So a transitional Prime Minister and a new NRW party leader have to be found. He should be elected in three weeks at the CDU party congress. Favorite: Transport Minister Hendrik Wust, who has a mandate in the state parliament and could therefore become provisional prime minister – unlike construction minister Ina Scharrenbach, who is repeatedly brought into play.

Ina Scharrenbach (CDU), Minister for Homeland, Local Affairs, Building and Equality of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, speaks to journalists at the party headquarters after the first extrapolation. Ina Scharrenbach is out of the question as Laschet’s successor.

Herbert Reul’s name is also mentioned a lot. He actually doesn’t want to, he says: “I don’t have any career plans. I’m so old and have been in office for so long that I don’t even have to make career plans.” But he still wants a mandate in the state parliament.