Scholz’s coalition suffers EU election blow – exit polls

The governing three-party bloc is showing worse results than its conservative opposition and right-wing AfD

Germany’s ruling coalition was outdistanced by its opposition in Sunday’s vote for the EU parliament, coming in behind conservatives and right-wing Alternative for Germany, projections indicated.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s center-left Social Democrats (SPD) support came in at around 14%, down from 15.8% in 2019 and marking their worst result in decades, according to early forecasts for ZDF and ARD television, based on exit polls and partial counting. 

The center-right main opposition, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) are predicted to take first place with around 30%.

Right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) could be seen coming up in second place with some 16%. The ultra-conservative eurosceptic party has lobbied for cutting the deliveries of armaments to Ukraine as well as an end to the sanctions against Russia, calling for peace talks. Despite several scandals in the election run-up, their support has grown by almost 5% in the last five years.

Other members of Scholz’s “traffic light coalition” also suffered losses. The Free Democrats (FDP) saw moderate drop in support, from 5.4% to an estimated 5%. However, the Greens’ popularity fell dramatically to around 12%, compared to 2019 when the party achieved their best ever result winning 20.5% of the vote and 21 seats in the European Parliament.

Under the current coalition government, Berlin has faced rising energy bill costs and the risk of recession, following the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and fallout from sanctions imposed on Moscow. Green lobbying, meanwhile, has closed the last three of Germany’s nuclear power plants in April of last year. The IMF has projected Germany’s GDP to be all but stalled this year, estimated to grow by 0.2% in 2024.

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Meanwhile, the left-wing Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance (BSW), a party formed by Wagenknecht and former Left Party politicians less than a year ago, has managed to gain some 6% of the votes. The BSW has leaned left on economic policy, but similar to some conservatives lobbied against uncontrolled migration. In the run-up to the EU elections, Wagenknecht warned against further escalation of the Ukraine conflict and allowing Kiev the use of Western arms in cross-border strikes, urging the West to “stop playing with fire.”

The largest among the 27 member states of the EU, Germany currently holds 96 seats in the European Parliament. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is a member of the CDU, which is part of the largest European People’s Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament.

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