First elections in Germany since COVID-19

by Jakob Kühler

First elections in Germany since COVID-19

On Sunday, September 13, 2020, almost 14 million citizens aged 16 and older were called to the local elections in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). With 17.92 million inhabitants, NRW would be the eighth largest state in the EU and has therefore immense political relevance since these elections were also the first since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results can subsequently be seen as a first sentiment test for the German parties before the federal elections in autumn next year. Traditionally, NRW was politically dominated by the Social Democratic Party. However, in line with the general political trend in Germany, the SPD’s results fell by 7,1 percent, whereas the Green’s won 8,3 percent compared to the last elections. The Greens scored particularly high in urban areas and were able to gain the highest share both in Cologne, the fourth largest German city, and in Bonn, the former capital of the Federal Republic. Overall, the Christian Democratic Party, the party of chancellor Angela Merkel and NRW’s minister of state Armin Laschet turned out to be the clear winner of the elections with 34,3 percent. The elections, therefore, opened the race to the federal elections in a post-COVID-19 political landscape, with the CDU as the frontrunner.

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