What the internet is saying about the German elections
Many observers had criticised the campaigns in the runup to the Bundestag elections as boring. Despite this, on election evening everyone was excitedly awaiting the results: on TV, in party headquarters – and in social media as well there was only one topic: we show how Twitter and Instagram users commented on initial projections and results.
Even soon after the election, one thing is clear: much is changing in the German parliament. Previously there were four parliamentary fractions – now, according to the preliminary end result of the voting counts – six will be represented.
Angela Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union (Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschland /CDU) is the most powerful group. Nevertheless, the CDU has been forced to accept significant losses, as has the party’s coalition partner to date. With 33%, the sister parties CDU/CSU have experienced their second-worst results, the Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschland /SPD) has even reaped the worst results in post-war history.
The online community has been discussing with particular intensity the high number of votes for the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland /AfD), which with 12.6% will be moving into the Bundestag. In the last elections in 2013, the AfD remained slightly under the 5% threshold, and has therefore not been represented in the Bundestag until now.
The AfD had positioned itself clearly against Angela Merkel’s refugee policy. Initial results showed that the AfD was above all able to reach non-voters and CDU/CSU voters.
Overall, the media expect a political turning-point in Germany – primarily because Martin Schulz, party leader of the previous coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), has announced his intention to go into opposition – instead of cooperating with the CDU in forming a government.
The sole remaining coalition option was therefore a so called “Jamaica coalition” consisting of the CDU-CSU, Bündnis 90/The Greens with 8.9%, and the Free Democratic Party (Freie Demokratische Partei /FDP) with 10.7%. The liberal party FDP will reenter the Bundesatag after four years of absence.
After the election results were announced, AfD leading candidate Alexander Gauland stated that he intends to “hound Frau Merkel” in the Bundestag, and “take our country and our people back.”
Outrage over this statement spread rapidly in all networks, publicist Carolin Emcke had this to say, among other things:
"Wir werden sie jagen" - wer jetzt noch behauptet, es ginge um "Sorgen der Menschen", hat nichts verstanden #gauland— C_Emcke (@C_Emcke) 24. September 2017
Apart from this, reactions to the Bundestag elections continued to focus on the AfD. Before the election, many users called for high voter turnout – above all to prevent an electoral success for the right-wing populists.
Thus, for instance, beauty blogger Sarah Thiele alias @theoriginalcopy.de posted a statement in favour of voter participation and against the AfD:
Verrückte Geschichte: morgen ist Bundestagswahl und alle müssen hin (zumindest die, die noch nicht per Brief gewählt haben). Setzt eure beiden Kreuze wo ihr wollt (außer bei der AfD natürlich), aber bitte setzt sie! Ich habe meine ✖️✖️ schon vergeben! #gerwomany #gehtwählen #noexcusesallowed #wirhabendiewahl
And poster artist and activist Barbara called for voter participation with the provocative posters that are her trademark:
Shortly before the election, Munich brass band Moop Mama even called for voter participation in a song:
Many disappointed voters distanced themselves from the AfD’s electoral success with the slogan: “I’m 87 Percent!”