The Social Democratic Party (SPD) headed by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has emerged as the victor of Germany’s federal elections that took place on Sept. 26. The center-left party secured 25.7 percent of the vote, overtaking Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) by 1.6 percent. The election marks the defeated conclusion of the Merkel era as her party has suffered a devastating electoral loss of 8.9 points since the 2017 election.

Overtaking the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) for third place is the left-wing Green Party at 14.8 percent, a disappointment from earlier projections, but nevertheless a leap from sixth place.  The pro-business Free Democrats (FdP) also celebrated a small jump of about 1 percent to 11.5 while the AfD now holds fifth place at 10.3 percent with a loss of two points since 2017.

The parties will now enter the coalition phase, often a painstaking and months-long process. While Scholz’s party received the most votes, CDU’s Armin Laschet has not ruled out replacing his predecessor as chancellor. The FdP and the Greens enjoy the position of “kingmakers” and could thus influence the direction of the traditional “Grand Coalition” of CDU and SPD.

The established Jewish community has largely favored the CDU to lead Germany, but many Jewish activists have criticized the government’s insistence on maintaining strong business and diplomatic ties with the Iranian regime under SPD’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The FdP solidified its pro-Israel credential when it introduced a parliamentary motion to change Germany’s anti-Israel voting patterns in the United Nations, a measure supported only by the AfD, which is considered by some Jews as the most pro-Israel party in the German parliament.

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