It is the end of an era for Germany, as a narrow victory for the SPD party suggests a possible new direction for the country post-Merkel.
END OF AN ERA FOR GERMANY
As Merkel’s 16-year tenure draws to a close, her party suffered their worst ever results, and a battle to form a coalition begins. Here are the some of the key points;
Political overview: For the last four governments, Merkel’s centre-right CDU party - the Christian Democratic Union - has led a coalition. On Sunday, the country’s left-leaning SPD party - the Social Democratic Party - won the highest % of votes.
What were the results? The SPD won 25.7% of the vote, while Merkel’s CDU party won 24.1%. While that seems close, the important thing to note is that this was the CDU’s “worst national result in history”. It also highlighted the significant gains the SPD have made since the last election just four years ago, where they gained 20.5% of the vote.
What does this mean for Germany? According to widespread media reports, both parties will now try to form a coalition. The Green Party is being discussed as a likely coalition party, after they garnered 14.8% of the vote.
Bigger picture: As The Financial Times noted, Sunday’s election was “the first in Germany’s postwar history when an incumbent chancellor was not standing for re-election”.
So, when does Merkel officially leave office? Hard to tell. She will stay in position until a new government has been formed. As CNN noted, back in 2017 it took five months to establish a coalition government.
*Below is a very helpful look at the gains and losses in comparison to the 2017 election;
- Sabina Nessa: A 36-year-old man was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of murder. Remember: Two other men have been arrested, and subsequently released pending further investigation.
The British Army might be brought in to help deliver petrol around the country, after a shortage of drivers and panic buying led to supply issues. It is expected to be discussed at a Cabinet meeting later today.
Also, fuel firms have been temporarily excluded from the Competition Act so they can strategically plan deliveries for areas most in need.
Bigger picture: “The UK had lost 72,000 drivers between the second quarter of 2019 and the same period in 2021… partly due to people returning to the EU after Brexit. At the same time… Covid-19 had disrupted testing for HGV licences, making it harder to replace the lost drivers.” - Helpful context from the BBC
Switzerland’s population voted to legalise same-sex marriage. The referendum was a resounding yes, with 64% of voters saying they were in favour of gay marriage.
As RTÉ News reported, same-sex marriage is now legal in 30 countries around the world. Just under half of those countries are in Europe, and the article linked makes for a very informative read.
San Marino - a tiny state located in the centre of Italy - voted by referendum to legalise abortion up to 12 weeks. It was another overwhelming mandate, with 77% of voters opting to end the full ban on abortion.
Bigger picture: Below is some fascinating context on San Marino from The Guardian;
“San Marino has long lagged behind other European countries on women’s rights. A referendum in 1982 – the first held in the state – to scrap a law that took away citizenship from women who married a foreigner was defeated. The law was eventually revoked by parliament, but not until 2000. Women were only given the right to vote in 1964, while divorce was made legal in 1986.”
Where is San Marino? It is north of Rome and east of Florence. It has a population of around 35,000.
- Global overview: More than 6 billion vaccine doses have been administered around the world.
- Strictly Come Dancing’s Tom Fletcher and his dance partner have both tested positive for coronavirus.
Interesting read: Turkmenistan - the central Asian land-locked country - has never reported a single case of coronavirus among its population of 6 million. However, one journalist in exile claims to have compiled a list of 60 people who died from the virus in the country.
Ever wondered what Turkmenistan looks like? Below is an eye-opening look at the country’s capital, Ashgabat.
- BBC News: UK suspends competition law to boost fuel supplies
- The Guardian: Stanlow oil refinery ‘on brink of collapse’ as crisis talks continue
- The Financial Times: Scholz and Laschet stake rival claims to lead Germany
- Al Jazeera: China’s biggest airshow to highlight military prowess
- The Irish Times: How much water do you need to drink every day?
25 years since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan for the first time. They ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001 under an extreme interpretation of Islamic sharia law.
“Amputations and executions were introduced as punishments and women were totally excluded from public life.” - BBC context
What are the latest headlines out of Afghanistan? That barbers are now forbidden from shaving beards or playing music.
IF YOU WATCH ONE THING…
Safe supplies of heroin, cocaine and crystal meth are being handed out on the streets of Vancouver, in an illegal effort to prevent overdoses.
“In British Columbia, overdose deaths jumped by 74% in 2020, the worst year ever. The US had a record 93,000 fatal overdoses in 2020, more than two-thirds of which involved opioids.”
ON A LIGHTER NOTE…
Angela and her legendary poker face.