Social Democrats win German election, ending Merkel era
Here is today’s one Foreign police in short: the Social democrats win narrowly in the German elections, the UN General Debate enters its last day, Kosovo and Serbia escalate tensions and the world this week.
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Germany votes for change, but not too much
The Social Democratic Party (SPD) is now the largest party in Germany after winning the federal election on Sunday. The margin was small – less than 2 percentage points higher than the Christian Democratic coalition (CDU / CSU), according to the latest tally – reflecting a fragmented electorate. Only 25.7% of voters chose the SPD, making a coalition government inevitable.
If the results hold, it will be remembered as a day of records: the best result of all time for the Green party, which withstood a faltering campaign to win 14.8% of the vote.
The CDU / CSU, in its first competition without Angela Merkel as chancellor candidate in nearly two decades, suffered its worst election since World War II, with just 24.1% of the vote. The feeling of change was underlined by the victory of the SPD in Merkel’s home constituency.
The fringes. The far-right Alternative for Germany fared less well than in 2017, but is by no means an exhausted force. The party won 10.3 percent of the vote (up from 12.6 percent in 2017) and remains the second biggest party in the former East Germany.
The Left Party almost completely lost, obtaining only 4.9% of the vote. The far-left party’s three direct victories in constituencies have given it a lifeline, allowing it to bypass the 5% threshold usually required to sit in the Bundestag.
The kingmakers. With the SPD and Christian Democrats aiming to form a government, this puts the centrist (but fiscal conservative) Green Party and Free Democratic Party (FDP) in a privileged position to secure concessions in what could be a long negotiation period of several weeks or even months. Merkel granted her SPD coalition partners the finance and foreign affairs portfolios in 2017, which could serve as a benchmark in the negotiations.
As Foreign police Columnist Adam Tooze wrote earlier this month, whether the finance ministry is run by a spender or a penny-pincher will have huge implications for Europe’s economic recovery. “If a German finance minister supports the small, conservative EU member states, who call for a return to fiscal orthodoxy, it will be a disaster for Europe,” Tooze wrote.
Christian Lindner of the FDP is precisely the kind of finance minister Tooze fears. Write in Foreign police Last week Sudha David-Wilp assessed Lindner’s options now that he has the two main German parties on his doorstep.
Not yet gone. As Germany’s political haggling begins, Merkel remains chancellor – albeit interim – until a viable government is agreed. With the G-20 summit approaching in late October and the UN’s global climate summit shortly thereafter, Merkel’s farewell tour could be long and busy.
At Tuesday September 28 European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are having a virtual meeting in the framework of the EU-China strategic dialogue.
At Wednesday September 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks in Sochi, Russia.
The US-EU Trade and Technology Council holds its first meeting. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Trade Representative Katherine Tai are expected, as are European Commission Executive Vice Presidents Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovskis.
At Thursday September 30 climate and energy ministers meet in Milan for the last ministerial meeting before the UN world climate summit.
The US House of Representatives is about to vote on a $ 1,000 billion infrastructure bill.
At Friday October 1 Venezuela introduces a digital currency, the digital bolivar. It also removes six zeros from its currency in an effort to keep up with inflation.
What we are tracking today
The last day of the debate. Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the UN Ghulam Isaczai is due to speak today on the final day of the general debate at the UN General Assembly. That he does so will be an indication of the organization’s willingness to quickly accept the new Taliban government. Last week, the Taliban asked the UN to recognize as a new ambassador: Suhail Shaheen, spokesperson for the group.
A similar impasse over Myanmar’s UN representative Kyaw Moe Tun, whose tenure predated Myanmar’s coup, was resolved by the UN credentials committee in a compromise: Kyaw Moe Tun could stay on, provided he doesn’t speak today.
Election of Iceland. Iceland’s ruling coalition slightly increased its majority in parliament following the weekend’s elections, with centrist, progressive and pro-independence parties winning seats while the Left-Greens, the other party in a three-party coalition , lost a few seats but retained enough to continue as a viable partner. Party leaders have yet to announce what form a new coalition might take.
For a few hours on Sunday, it emerged that Iceland had joined Cuba, Nicaragua, Mexico and Rwanda as one of the few countries with a predominantly female legislature, but a recount reduced the number of female representatives to only 48% of Iceland’s new parliament representatives.
The pains of Brexit. The UK government will now consider deploying the country’s armed forces to tackle fuel shortages after a leak at gas stations (a panic itself driven by a shortage of truck drivers) left many closed stations with empty pumps. Automotive gasoline is not the only one in short supply; the carbon dioxide needed to carbonate soft drinks is also about to run out.
A shortage of drivers and poultry workers following the UK’s exit from the EU has prompted a reversal of the Conservative government, which will now issue up to 10,500 temporary visas for foreign workers in an attempt to fill the gap. lack.
The question of whether truckers will accept the offer remains open; companies across Europe are also hiring, wages in the EU are higher and new regulations have improved working conditions, according to Marco Digioia, president of the European Association of Road Transporters.
Although most UK politicians dare not utter the word ‘Brexit’, as Jonathan Freedland argues, on days of long lines for gasoline across the UK – as well as the specter of gasoline rays. bare supermarkets and a Christmas without turkeys – even drove 52 percent of Let voters blame Britain’s departure from the EU for the crisis, poll finds.
Troubles in Turkey. The US State Department has threatened further sanctions against Turkey after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested Ankara would soon buy more S-400 missile systems from Russia. A US State Department official said on Sunday that “any new major Russian arms purchase” would risk violating the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which gives the US government the power to sanction those who buy Russian weapons. The United States already imposed sanctions on four employees of Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate last December in retaliation for Turkey’s initial purchase of the S-400.
Serbia-Kosovo tensions. Serbian fighter jets flew over the border with Kosovo on Sunday in the latest escalation of tensions between the two governments in recent days. The latest wave of unrest was sparked by Kosovo’s ban on license plates for Serbian vehicles on its territory, a move Serbia implemented on Kosovar license plates. (Vehicles are allowed, but drivers must use temporary plates when crossing the border.)
Offices of the Kosovo Interior Ministry were set on fire in the north of the country over the weekend, while grenades were thrown at another government building. Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti accused Serbia of inciting ethnic Serbs living in the region to carry out the attacks. “Serbia is using citizens of Kosovo to provoke a serious international conflict,” Kurti said on Saturday.
A senior Taliban commander has warned the group’s core military fighters to clean up their act as the group’s infantrymen celebrate in the new take of Kabul, the the Wall Street newspaper reports. New Defense Minister Mohammad Yaqoob berated his recruits in a recent audio message, warning that their exploits, which range from sightseeing to speed, “hurt our status” and were too close to the behavior of “warlords and puppet regime gangsters. . “
Yaqoob was particularly enraged by the fighters’ obsession with selfies, which he said posed a security risk, especially if sensitive locations or senior leaders were included in the shooting.
Correction, September 27, 2021: This was the first CDU / CSU election without Angela Merkel as chancellor candidate in nearly two decades; a previous version of this article distorted this time limit.