Germany election ends in narrow victory, two parties claim 'clear mandate' to form coalition

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Germany’s election ended in a narrow victory, with two parties believing they have the right to form a new government after both fell short of a majority.

The left-leaning Social Democratic Party (SPD) won the most seats and will begin negotiations to form a coalition government, with the Green or the Liberal Democrat parties as the front-runners. 

SPD Leader Olaf Scholz said he has a “clear mandate” to form a government, but his rival Armin Laschet insisted he will be the one to form a coalition government instead, the BBC reported. 

“It’s quite clear that we’ve got the mandate to form a government with the parties that saw their shares of the vote rise in this election – the SPD, the Greens and the FDP,” Scholz told party supporters in Berlin.

Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) fell short by 10 seats, winning 196 overall. The Green Party won around 118 seats and the Free Democrats (FDP) won 92 seats, leaving them in pole position for the coalition deal.

“We’ve got a clear mandate and we’ll try to form a government under conservative leadership,” Laschet said late on Sunday.  

However, Scholz responded to Laschet’s comment by saying, “Parties that lose elections shouldn’t try to form governments.” 

Any coalition deal would require the cooperation of the Green Party and FDP together, as a majority requires 368 votes. 

The SPD’s victory over the CDU is its first in 19 years and only the third time in 20 post-war elections, The Independent reported. 

Merkel warned that a socialist government could “strangulate” business and isolate Germany on a global scale, urging voters to think “about your future” as they headed to the polls. 

The result, then, took some by surprise, with President Biden saying “I’ll be darned” when a reporter told him the result, Bloomberg reported. 

“They’re solid,” Biden told reporters. 

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