Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated SDP leader Olaf Scholz on his success in Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Scholz’s Social Democrats became Germany’s largest party at the expense of Merkel’s CDU/CSU.
Merkel’s intended successor in the conservative bloc, Armin Laschet, is said to have also congratulated Scholz. Sources within both parties say a letter has been sent. Laschet was previously criticized for failing to congratulate his opponent publicly.
Markus Söder of the Bavarian CSU, the sister party of the CDU, had already congratulated Scholz. He indirectly criticized Laschet by saying that it is the SPD’s turn to form a government. Laschet maintains that no party has that mandate with this result.
The SDP received 25.7 percent of the vote in the parliamentary elections, and the CDU/CSU received 24.1 percent. That was a historic defeat for the Christian Democrats. Internally, Laschet has apologized for the poor result and acknowledged making mistakes.
Laschet says he wants to form a government with the environmental party, The Greens and the liberal FDP. The FDP itself first enters into discussions with the Greens and later meets separately with the conservatives and the social democrats. The FDP does say it prefers a coalition with the Greens and the conservative CDU/CSU.