Last State Elections prior to Federal Elections in Germany: Incumbent Minister wins

by Michelle Maibaum

 

On Sunday, June 6th 2021, state elections were held in Sachsen-Anhalt, one of the states in the Eastern part of Germany that formerly belonged to the German Democratic Republic (GDR).
 
Incumbent State Prime Minister, Reiner Haseloff from the Christian Democratic Party (CDU), is considered the clear winner of the elections. According to the preliminary results, his party managed to increase their support by 7,4% with a total of 37,1% of the votes. The right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) lost 3,4% of their votes as compared to the previous state elections in 2016. They received 20,8% and therefore remain the second strongest party in Sachsen-Anhalt’s State Parliament. 
 
The left-wing party Die LINKE that used to be a strong political player in many Eastern states of Germany, including Sachsen-Anhalt, suffered the greatest losses (-5,3%) and received 11,0% of the votes. Similarly, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) lost 2,2% of their votes compared to 2016, resulting in 8,4% in total.
 
The Green party Bündnis 90/Die Grünen was not able to benefit from their rising popularity at national level and received 5,9% of the votes with a small increase of 0,8%. Another winner of the state elections is the Liberal Party FDP that managed to re-join Sachsen-Anhalt’s parliament after ten years with 6,4% - an increase of 1,6% as compared to 2016.
 
In terms of coalition projections, Reiner Haseloff now has several options. One is to continue the so-called “Kenya-coalition”, consisting of CDU, SPD and the Green party. Another option that is currently preferred by most CDU members is a collaboration between CDU, SPD and FDP, the so-called “Germany-coalition”. A small coalition of CDU and SPD would also be possible.
 
While the CDU at national level reflected on the state elections as a good omen for the upcoming federal elections on 26th September 2021, one must emphasize that Reiner Haseloff is a popular State Prime Minister who has been in office for 10 years. Furthermore, during the election campaign, he strongly encouraged the citizens of Sachsen-Anhalt to vote for the CDU if they wanted to prevent the AfD to become the strongest force in parliament. Similar to the previous state elections in Rheinland-Pfalz and Baden-Württemberg, it can therefore be concluded that the CDU benefitted from their prominent State Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff. In addition, it is interesting to point out that during the recent political power struggle between Markus Söder (CSU) and Armin Laschet (CDU), Reiner Haseloff positioned himself against Laschet, who has since been elected CDU candidate for chancellor.
 
As for the Green party, their low voting rates in Sachsen-Anhalt do not seem to be an indicator for the upcoming federal elections. Historically, the Greens did not win many votes in Eastern state elections, while recently gaining strong local support in Western states. In addition, they are expected to benefit from voters’ support for topics that are particularly relevant at national level, such as climate protection.

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