Germany’s ruling coalition parties hit all-time low, Greens on the up

A poll published on Friday says Germany's governing coalition parties - the CDU/CSU and SPD - would receive just 39 percent of the vote if there were Bundestag elections on Sunday, the lowest ever combined result.

Germany's ruling coalition parties hit all-time low, Greens on the up
Archive picture of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), Horst Seehofer (CSU) and Andrea Nahles (SPD). Photo: DPA

The Union and the Social Democrats had reached a combined total of 53 percent of the vote after the Bundestag elections last year and they went on to form the grand coalition, reports Tagesschau.

But according to the latest ‘Deutschlandtrend' survey published by German broadcaster ARD, the CDU/CSU would get 25 percent of the vote and the SPD 14 percent. This is the worst result for both parties since the poll started in 1997.

In total, the governing coalition of CDU/CSU and SPD would receive just 39 percent of the votes – in the 2017 federal elections that took place in September last year, both together still reached 53.5 percent.

Greens and AfD in front of SPD

The Greens have celebrated rising election poll results recently and a surge in membership – and at the recent Bavaria state election the party scooped 17.5 percent. In Friday's survey, 19 percent of respondents said they would vote for the Greens, the highest figure since September 2011.

A total of 16 percent would vote in favour of the AfD, meaning that the both parties are ahead of the SPD.

The Left (Die Linke) would get nine percent of the votes and the Free Democrats (FDP) eleven percent.

Compared to the 'Deutschlandtrend' survey on October 11th, 2018, the CDU/CSU, SPD and the Left each lose one percentage point. The FDP gains one percentage point, the Greens two percentage points. The voting share for the AfD remains unchanged.

Loss of stability or igniting the debate?

The poll also showed that 51 percent of those eligible to vote are concerned that the dwindling support of the CDU, CSU and SPD – the so-called German Volksparteien, or peoples' parties – could jeopardize political stability in Germany.

SEE ALSO: The winners and losers – 7 things you need to know about the Bavaria election

But 47 percent of respondents do not share this fear. They expect the new balance of power to lead to broader political debates with several small to medium-sized parties.

Half of the supporters of the Left, Greens and FDP also share the concern about the loss of importance of the mainstream parties. Among AfD supporters, the figure is just under a third.

A total of 1040 voters were interviewed by the Infratest dimap institute for the survey this week and they were asked to answer the questions as if Bundestag elections were taking place Sunday.

Coalition talks continue in Bavaria

The survey was released as the CSU and Free Voters continued their negotiations in a bid to form a coalition together in the southern German state of Bavaria. It came after a short consultation phase between the two parties following the state election on Sunday.

SEE ALSO: CSU and Free Voters begin coalition talks in Bavaria

The CSU dropped 10 percentage points to receive 37.2 percent of the vote, losing their absolute majority, while the Free Voters received 11.6 percent.

The parties “have left no doubt that they see themselves as partners”, reports DPA. The CSU is counting on stability, while Free Voters stress that they see no obstacles to forming a coalition, the press agency adds.

The chairman of the Greens, Robert Habeck, expressed his disappointment with the CSU decision. He told the German media group RND that choosing the Free Voters was “comfortable” for the party but showed the CSU had no desire for change.

Habeck said he interpreted the result of the Bavarian state elections as an appeal for Greens to be in the government in Bavaria participation in the government.

SEE ALSO: Why there was no political earthquake in Bavaria – but Germany is still shaking things up

“The voters gave us the task of implementing a real political breakthrough for Bavaria,” he said. Habeck told RND that “we were clearly voted the second strongest force”.

Politics pause

Meanwhile, in a departure away from politics but sticking with voting, Friday's Deutschlandtrend poll also asked about an apolitical topic: the national football coach.

Despite the recent defeats of the German national football team, support for coach Joachim Löw apparently continues.

A relative majority of 43 percent of the respondents is in favour of Löw remaining national coach. A total of 34 percent said they wanted a replacement, while 20 percent said they were not interested in football and therefore had no opinion on the subject.

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Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

It's official - people in Germany will get cheap public transport for three months this summer after the €9 ticket was approved.

Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

As part of a host of energy relief measures to cushion the cost of living crisis, the German government is offering cheap public transport for the months of June, July and August. 

Monthly tickets will be available at a price of €9 (or €27 for all three months) and they will allow people to use all buses, trains and trams in local and regional transport throughout the country.

So even if people buy the ticket in Munich, they will also be able to use local and regional buses, trains and trams elsewhere in Germany, whether it’s Hamburg or Cologne. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

The ticket will not be valid, however, on long-distance transport such as ICE trains or Flixbus.

The offer was put together by the coalition government – made of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the FDP.

The Bundestag voted for the initiative on Thursday, agreeing to give federal states a subsidy of €2.5 billion to fund the project. 

And on Friday, the Bundesrat – the upper house of parliament that represents the states – gave the green light to the ticket, paving the way for it to begin on June 1st. 

States had wanted an extra €1.5 billion funding boost to deal with lost revenue, however it would have been hugely controversial if they had blocked it.

READ ALSO: German states threaten to block the €9 ticket in the Bundesrat

During a debate on Thursday, federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) said the €9 project was “already a success”.

“All of Germany is talking about local public transport,” he said, adding that it is also being viewed with interest abroad. 

READ ALSO: ‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 ticket

The Left party (Die Linke) voted in favour of the €9 ticket, but leader Bernd Riexinger said he thought the plan didn’t go far enough. “Three months is simply too little,” he said.

The opposition, however, slammed the move. Christian Democrat Michael Donth called it an “expensive experiment”.

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn will offer the ticket for sale as early as Monday. Local public transport providers across the country are also preparing their ticket machines for the initiative. It will also be available in travel centres.

People with subscriptions to local transport will automatically benefit from the offer. 

In some regions, such as Stuttgart and Freiburg, the ticket is already available for purchase.

READ ALSO: How to get a hold of the €9 ticket in Berlin