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Success of the AfD: 'Traffic Light' struggles with the consequences of the EU elections

Success of the AfD: 'Traffic Light' struggles with the consequences of the EU elections

13.9 percent – The SPD has never performed as poorly in German-wide elections as in the EU elections. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's party fell behind the Alternative for Germany party, which rose to 15.9 percent. The Green coalition partner of Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Economy Minister Robert Habeck lost nearly nine percent compared to its record 2019 result, falling to 11.9 percent.

The smallest government party, the liberal Free Democratic Party led by Finance Minister Christian Lindner, remained stable with 5.2 percent. The party with the strongest votes was the opposition union (Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union), which gained slightly at 30 percent. The Sahra-Wagenknecht (BSW) coalition received 6.2% on its debut, while the Left, which was represented in the Bundestag, lost nearly half its votes and ultimately received only 2.7%.

The government says no to new elections

In contrast to French President Emmanuel Macron, who called for parliamentary elections in June after his party's defeat in the European Union elections, the German government is not considering holding new elections. Government spokesman Stephen Hebstreit confirmed on Monday that “the election date is scheduled for the fall of next year, and we plan to implement it that way.” “At no time, not for a single second, did the idea that new elections could start in Germany now occur.”

Reuters/Lisa Johansen

Chancellor Schulz: The German government rejects the call for new elections

Bavaria's Prime Minister and CSU leader Markus Söder had earlier called on the “traffic light” to do the same thing as Macron did: “Our country needs a fresh start. The 'traffic light' no longer has a mandate and no longer has the trust of the population,” he said. Söder: “That is why there must be new elections as soon as possible.” CDU Secretary General Carsten Linnemann demanded that Schulz request a vote of confidence in parliament.

However, Finance Minister Lindner stressed that he had no fundamental doubts about the chancellor's ability to lead. “Why should anything change? We have a joint government programme, a coalition agreement, that we are working on together. As long as everyone is committed to the business foundation, there is no reason to question trust,” says Lindner.

New fuel for budget disputes

Defeat in the EU elections could provide new fuel to the already simmering budget dispute. The government wants to present the draft 2025 budget by July 3. It basically comes down to the question of how much savings to make. Lindner stressed on Monday that commitment to the coalition agreement also includes fiscal policy and therefore a commitment to curb debt and waive tax increases.

Germany: The Alternative for Germany party is in second place behind the Union

The Union (CDU/CSU) is the winner of the European elections in Germany. Behind them is the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in second place, which is said to have made significant gains.

On the other hand, Social Democratic Party Secretary General Lars Klingbeil said his party must do more to support the interests of the working center. The fight for these people begins with budget consultations, Klingbeil says. The Interior Minister of the eastern German state of Thuringia, Georg Mayer, of the Social Democratic Party, called on the government to bridge the social gap between East and West once and for all.

“Olaf Schulz must show leadership and end the austerity dictates imposed by Christian Lindner at the expense of the East German states and their citizens,” Mayer said. In Thuringia, the AfD passed 30% in the EU elections, while the Social Democrats got just 8.2%.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Green Party)

IMAGO/Political Moments

Foreign Minister Baerbock and the Green Party were defeated in the EU elections

Green Party leader Omid Nouripour called on all coalition partners to remember that “we put the country before party colors.” This is especially true regarding upcoming budget negotiations.

The AfD party defies scandals, except for Krah

The “Traffic Light” concerts in the East fared particularly poorly. The Alternative for Germany party was the strongest force in the European Union elections in the federal states of Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony. The far-right party made significant gains in local elections in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Saxony, which were also held on Sunday.

The scandals surrounding the AfD's top candidates did not change anything. List leader Maximilian Krah confirmed the AfD's expulsion from the far-right Identity and Democracy faction in the EU Parliament with inane comments about the Waffen-SS. One of his employees was arrested on suspicion of spying for China.

Greetings from Alice Weidel and Tino Shrubala (AfD)

Reuters/Angret Hales

The AfD's federal presidents, Alice Weidel and Tino Shruppala, celebrated the result of the EU elections

Peter Bystrun, second on the list, is said to have accepted money from a pro-Russian network. The Public Prosecution is investigating him. Neither Bistron nor Karah appeared in the final phase of the election campaign. The AfD excluded Krahe from the party's delegation to the European Union on Monday. The 47-year-old announced that he still wants to enter the European Union Parliament.

The AfD is strong among young people

The AfD's strongholds are in the east, but in many rural areas of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg it ended up at least in second place. This is demonstrated by taking a look at data on results in individual German provinces.

The strongest and second strongest parties in the German provinces in EU elections and voter turnout

The often expressed assumption that higher voter turnout means worse performance for right-wing parties cannot be extracted from election data. In the eastern federal states, the AfD also achieved success in areas that witnessed high voter turnout.

The AfD's strong performance among young people has sparked controversy in Germany. In the group of 16-24 year olds, the party's support increased from 5 to 16 percent compared to the 2019 EU elections, and it ended up in second place behind the Union. On the other hand, the Green Party lost a full 23 percent in this age group.

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