Merkel and Laschet congratulate Olaf Scholz on election win

Merkel and Laschet congratulate Olaf Scholz on election win

SPD candidate Olaf Scholz’s hopes of becoming the next German chancellor were given a major boost this week, after both outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and his main rival, Armin Laschet, congratulated him on his election win. 

Scholz gets congratulations from Germany’s CDU party

Armin Laschet had come under fire for his party’s disappointing performance in the federal election - which saw votes for the CDU / CSU conservative bloc slump by 8 percent compared to 2017 - and for insisting on trying to build a coalition despite coming second. 

He was also criticised for failing to publicly congratulate Scholz, who has emerged after the election as the most likely candidate for chancellor, after his SPD party scraped a narrow win with 24,1 percent of the vote. However, sources in the SPD and CDU / CSU confirmed to AFP that Scholz did in fact receive a letter of congratulations from Laschet on Wednesday. 

Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is stepping down after 16 years, has largely stayed out of the post-election fray, but did break her silence on Wednesday to reveal in a statement that she had congratulated Scholz “on his election success” on Monday. 

Coalition talks underway between SPD, Greens and FDP

Scholz and the SPD were given a further boost this week when a selfie posted on Instagram late on Tuesday showed that the Greens and the pro-business FDP party had met for their first round of preliminary talks. Both parties, who came third and fourth in the election, have emerged as the kingmakers of the next government. 

However, forming a coalition requires them to find some common ground, and the Greens and the FDP are not natural bedfellows, diverging on key issues like taxation, climate and public spending. After the 2017 federal election, these ideological differences caused the FDP to walk out of coalition talks with the Greens and the conservatives. 

However, the Instagram selfie was captioned with the sentiment that the two parties were actually finding ways to build bridges. They are due to meet again this Friday in a more formal setting. Scholz has tweeted that he is “optimistic” about a so-called “traffic light” coalition between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. 

In the meantime, however, Laschet’s hopes of becoming chancellor via a “Jamaica coalition” with the FDP and the Greens aren’t entirely extinguished: the FDP also revealed that it plans to meet with the CDU / CSU party on Saturday, a day before meeting with the SPD. 

Image: photocosmos1 /



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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