Davidson College and The N.C. Zeitgeist Foundation organized an election day watch event on Sunday, Sep. 24; complete with brats, potato salad and red cabbage.
Klaus Becker, Honorary Consul of Germany, described the pre-election background, introduced the main political parties and analyzed possible coalition scenarios while Dr. Besir Ceka, Assistant Professor with the Political Science Department at Davidson College, commented on the results.
Although the new right-populist party AfD was expected to enter the German parliament, its dramatic gains of 13%, making it the 3rd strongest party, came as a surprise, even as a shock. The relatively poor results of Germany’s two big parties, the Volksparteien or people’s parties, which have long been the pillars of a stable political system, are largely considered the political price for Merkel’s 2015 decision to open the borders to refugees from Syria and Iraq. The arrival of a million refugees over the last two years opened deep rifts in the population and weakened its support. Although Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance won the highest share of vote, it has not won enough that it can govern alone, meaning it will have to find coalition partners from smaller parties.