German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s turnaround in foreign and security policy has been well received. This was shown by the state elections in the German Saarland. The SPD achieved a landslide victory there, mainly at the expense of the CDU. The relief package decided shortly before the election to compensate for the high energy prices may also have helped.
According to the ARD extrapolation, the SPD of the popular top candidate Anke Rehlinger received 43.5 percent of the votes. That means a whopping plus of 13.9 percent. Prime Minister Tobias Hans’ CDU, on the other hand, fell to an all-time low of 27.5 percent (minus 12.5 percent). The SPD was previously a junior partner in Hans’ government.
As things stand at present, the Greens can look forward to 5.1 percent (plus 1.1 percent). That would put them back in parliament. In 2017, they failed the 5 percent hurdle with just 4 percent. The AfD is also back with an expected 5.7 percent (minus 0.5 percent). The FDP, on the other hand, are likely to narrowly miss out. Although she can look forward to an increase of 4.9 percent with 4.9 percent, that is just not enough for the state parliament.
The likely future prime minister could possibly choose from two potential coalition partners. In addition to a continuation of the GroKo with the opposite sign, a red-green coalition would also be possible. According to the forecast, the Greens became the third strongest force with 5.2 percent and managed to re-enter the parliament of Germany’s smallest territorial state.
Should the Liberals still make it into the state parliament, the previous Economics Minister Rehlinger would have a third potential government partner.
The left also suffered a historic debacle. She lost 10.3 percent with 2.5 percent clear of the regional parliament of the home country of the left-wing party founder Oskar Lafontaine.
For decades after the Second World War, Saarland was considered an SPD stronghold, but has been under CDU leadership since the turn of the millennium.