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First reactions to the German election

September 28th, 2021
In the first snap reactions to the Bundestag election results, pundits across the political scene foretell more tension between the next German government and Hungary.

On Mandiner, László Levente Greczula writes that after the SPD victory, ‘unfettered imperial arrogance’ will become the guiding principle of German politics. The conservative analyst contends that Olaf Scholz won because he embraced the same moderate calm tone that marked Angela Merkel’s leadership. This moderation was even more attractive than the Green’s ‘moralizing superiority’, he suggests. Greczula nonetheless suspects that Green leader Annalena Baerbock will have the upper hand in the government, and Germany will crank up human rights activism in politics,  provoking deeper strains on German-Hungarian diplomatic relations.

In Heti Világgazdaság, Márton Gergely thinks that the main lesson of the German election is that voters rejected radical parties. The left-wing liberal commentator points out that despite the increasing fragmentation of the German political system, the popularity of two fringe parties (AfD and die Linke) has eroded, and they will be left out of the governing coalition regardless of whether it will be led by the SPD or the Christian Democratic parties. As for Hungary, Gergely takes it for granted that the new German government will be even more critical of the Orbán government than its predecessor – particularly if the Greens are included in the governing coalition.

On Index, Gergely Prőhle, former ambassador to Germany interprets the results as a ‘catastrophic defeat of the CDU and CSU parties’, the last important center-right catch-all party in Europe. The conservative pundit suggests that whoever leads the new coalition will have a rather weak mandate, and will thus be forced to make many compromises. In an aside, Prőhle fears for the stability of the German political system as the fact that the make-up of the governing coalition will depend on two smaller parties, the Free Democrats and the Greens. Concerning the implications for Hungary, Prőhle expects more tension between Berlin and Budapest. He thinks that the election result clearly indicates a shift from traditional Christian Conservative ideas, and concludes therefore that the Hungarian government’s closes ally in the next coalition could be the pro-market Free Democrats.

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