Clear victory – Lower Saxony: SPD is the strongest force despite losses

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In the federal elections in the German state of Lower Saxony, Prime Minister Stephan Weil’s SPD clearly emerged as the strongest party on Sunday. According to ARD and ZDF forecasts at 6 p.m., despite losses, the Social Democrats were ahead of the conservative CDU with top candidate Bernd Althusmann. The Greens are heading for a record result. They are Weil’s partner of choice for the future government. The AfD also won strongly, achieving a double-digit result.

The FDP, on the other hand, collapsed and must worry about entering the state parliament. According to the predictions, the left failed again at the hurdle of five percent.

Election campaign shaped by war in Ukraine
The election campaign was dominated by the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The focus was on the energy crisis and the concerns of many citizens about the high prices for gas, electricity and food. National political issues played a minor role.

Before the election, the SPD and CDU had made it clear that they did not want to continue the coalition they reluctantly formed in 2017. Instead, both major parties announced that they wanted to rule with the Greens.

CDU with historically weak results
According to forecasts, the SPD will receive 32.4 to 33.5 percent of the vote (2017: 36.9). At 27.5 percent, the CDU posted its worst state result in more than 60 years (2017: 33.6). The Greens, on the other hand, have risen sharply and are in third place at 14.0 to 14.5 (2017: 8.7). The AfD is also gaining ground, reaching 11.5 to 12 percent (2017: 6.2). At 5.0 percent, the FDP must fear failing at the five percent threshold (2017: 7.5). With 2.5 to 3.0 percent in the forecast, the left is again below this limit (2017: 4.6).

Weil, 63, who has been prime minister for almost ten years, is aiming for his third term. He could even replace Ernst Albrecht as head of government with the longest tenure in Lower Saxony. During the election campaign, he presented himself to troubled voters as an experienced crisis manager with a close connection to Chancellor Olaf Scholz. In the election campaign, the SPD relied heavily on Weil’s high popularity figures, especially in direct comparison with Althusmann.

Red-Green should create a majority
According to forecasts, it should be enough for a red-green government majority in the state parliament. In a first reaction, SPD secretary general Kevin Kühnert spoke of a “clear election victory”. A failure of the FDP on the five percent threshold would be detrimental to coalition peace in Berlin and could further increase the riot factor, especially between the Liberals and the Greens – especially in view of a possible escalation of the energy crisis over the winter, possible further support measures, the nuclear dispute and the debt brake.

Nearly 6.1 million eligible voters were able to cast their vote. 21 parties applied. There were 756 candidates in 87 constituencies, about a third of whom were women. According to the forecasts, the turnout was between 60.0 and 61.0 percent. In 2017 this was still 63.1 percent, after 59.4 percent in 2013. Only in May 2023 there will be elections again in a German state – in Bremen. The next major elections will take place in Bavaria and Hesse in the autumn of 2023.

Source: Krone

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