No real winner in German election

Schröder's loss was not Merkel's gain

The Swiss papers are united in the view that Germany's political future is uncertain following Sunday's parliamentary election.

This content was published on September 19, 2005 - 08:36

They said it would be the small parties who will play the kingmakers, and were in agreement that the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader, Angela Merkel, was the main loser.

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) called the outcome the "worst election for Germany".

The Zurich newspaper said that while Gerhard Schröder's Social Democratic Party (SPD) no longer had a majority to continue with its reforms, Angela Merkel was "the real loser of this election".

"Merkel will certainly receive the mandate to form a government and the chances are good that she will become Germany's first woman chancellor. But how will she govern and with whom?" asked the NZZ.

"It's a calamity and there are no viable options," it continued in its editorial.

"Germans must look in the mirror and ask themselves what they really want. Only then can a future parliament change the law and dissolve the government in order to give voters a second chance."

Deep-lying fears

The Zurich-based Tages-Anzeiger commented: "Neither politician was able to dispel the deep-lying fears large sections of the population have of unpleasant reforms and drastic changes, even if a majority have come to the realisation that they must say goodbye to the comfortable lifestyle to which they have become accustomed in order to survive against competition from eastern Europe."

"Germany will become more Swiss" was the headline on the front page of the tabloid Blick.

The paper's editor-in-chief said that Germany now needed a "Swiss-style consensus form of government".

"A purely left-leaning administration is not possible because the Left party has yet to prove itself and a rightwing government is not possible mathematically," said Werner De Schepper.

"Germany now needs a chancellor who can rise above the situation and, in a Swiss way, find a majority," he concluded.

The French-language Tribune de Genève also said Merkel was the big loser, describing her precarious position as being like sitting "in an ejector seat."


The Geneva-based Le Temps said that Germany's two main parties "who have guided political life in the country since the end of the Second World War are in crisis".

"Schröder's SPD has lost, even though the chancellor tried to present himself yesterday evening as the psychological winner," added the paper.

"The CDU is set to become the largest party in parliament but with such a poor result that the party's pale leader will have to go."

The headline in the Fribourg-based La Liberté described Merkel's failure at the polls as a humiliation.

"She lost because she failed to put human and social values in her election platform," La Liberté said.

The Aargauer Zeitung described Germany's future government, however it comes together, as a "lopsided, wobbly house, which can only be renovated with utmost care – if at all".

The Bern-based Bund said the real winners were the small parties. "The radical market-oriented FDP [Free Democratic Party] won voters who wanted to see the social state in its current form reformed.

"The Left party won protest votes and disappointed SPD followers. A stable government is nowhere in sight."

"The game with the [party] colours and numbers shows how fragile the political situation in our neighbour has become," commented the Südostschweiz in canton Graubünden.

It predicted that "one of the small parties will tip the scales, and only the Greens will be able to play a decisive role since the new Left party has been discredited by all sides as undemocratic".


Key facts

Provisional election results:

CDU/CSU: 35.2%
SPD: 34.3%
FDP: 9.8%
Left Party: 8.7%
Greens: 8.1%

End of insertion
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In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

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