One woman’s loss could be another man’s lucky escape.
Anke Rehlinger of Germany’s SPD Social Democrats lost out to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party in the Saarland regional election. But some analysts say it will give the SPD’s national leader, Martin Schulz more time to focus on September’s federal vote.
If the SPD had won, it would likely have allied with Die Linke, forming the first left-left coalition in western Germany. This, experts say, would have given the CDU ammunition for scaremongering among the German people, leaving the SPD on damage control.
However, the CDU victory means its existing regional coalition with the SPD remains in place. This is seen as giving Schulz an opportunity to focus less on potential problems caused by a shift in governance and more on a head-to-head fight with Merkel in the national race.
Despite Saarland having just 800,000 eligible voters, the first of three regional ballots this year was considered a significant opportunity for parties to build – or lose – momentum ahead of the national election on September 24.