German Chancellor Olaf Scholz Suffers Defeat in EU Elections 

Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks on arrival for a EU Summit, at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on March 23, 2023.

Sunday’s provisional results in the European election revealed a pretty massive shock to Germany.

All three parties of the country’s ruling coalition lost tons of votes, and the Greens suffered particularly badly. Massive gains were made by anti-establishment parties, with far-right parties achieving record results at the polls.

With additional regional elections coming this fall, and federal elections happening next year, it’s possible that Germany might experience a political upset that hasn’t been felt since its turn to democracy after World War II.

The results of the election show that The Green Party lost almost 9%. The Social Democratic Party, of which Chancellor Olaf Scholz is a part, dropped to a new low of only 14%, which was a drop of almost 2 points from the previous worst results that the party experienced in 2019. 

The coalition partners of that party, the Free Liberals, garnered only 5% support. Overall, less than one-third of all German voters combined supported the country’s ruling parties.

The election winners were the Christian Democratic parties (CDU/CSU), which is a center-right party, which garnered about 30% support. That’s just about one percentage point greater than they garnered in 2019, though, which shows that voters didn’t jump to the party with enthusiasm.

Many Germans who have become disaffected with the country shifted their support to the fringe of politics then. A new party named after Sahra Wagenknect (BSW), which is Left-wing, gained a little more than 6% support, while the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) garnered 16% support. 

That marks the highest that a far-right party has polled in a nationwide German election since democracy was re-introduced to the country.

Many leaders of the ruling parties expressed dismay at the polling results.

The Greens leader said she was “not satisfied” with the performance of her party, while the SPD’s general secretary said it was a “very bitter election result.”

Bild, the largest tabloid in Germany, called the results a “brutal reckoning” as well as a “slap in the face for Chancellor Scholz.”

Polling had actually predicted that the election results would come out this way, and the vote only proved how angry Germans are with the state of the country. There was a record turnout of 64.8%, too, which goes to show just how motivated German citizens were to see change.

This marks the first time that 16- and 17-year-old citizens could vote in European elections, and many of these young voters are very unhappy with the government that their parents and grandparents lived under.

About 25% of people between the ages of 16 and 24 voted for coalition parties, while 16% voted for the AfD.

The collective message from Germans is rather clear — that the country’s mainstream politicians aren’t addressing the concerns they have.

In May, a survey revealed that voters thought that migration and refugees were clearly the biggest problem that Germany is facing. A distant second, according to that survey, was energy and the climate, following by the economy, pensions and the ongoing war in Ukraine.