Germany’s center-left Social Democrats and outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel ’s center-right bloc both laid claim Sunday to lead the country’s next government as projections showed the long-time leader’s party heading for its worst-ever result in a national election.
The outcome appeared to put Europe’s biggest economy on course for lengthy haggling to form a new government, while Merkel stays on in a caretaker role until a successor is sworn in. A three-party governing coalition, with two opposition parties that have traditionally been in rival ideological camps — the environmentalist Greens and the business-friendly Free Democrats — would provide the likeliest route to power for both leading candidates.
Only one of the three candidates to succeed Merkel, who chose not to run for a fifth term, looked happy after Sunday’s vote: the Social Democrats’ Olaf Scholz, the outgoing vice chancellor and finance minister who pulled his party out of a years-long slump….
image….Olaf Scholz, Finance Minister and SPD candidate for Chancellor waves to his supporters after German parliament election at the Social Democratic Party, SPD, headquarters in Berlin, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)