What and when Germany will create a new government?

Germany's voters have voted. It's now up to the party leaders to decide who will succeed Angela Merkel as Chancellor after 16 years of service and with which political priorities.

What and when Germany will create a new government?

It is now clear what the new Bundestag in Germany, which is the lower house of Parliament, will look like. There are three plausible new coalition governments that have majority support, but it could take weeks to create a new administration. Let's take a look at the process.


German governments are usually led by the first-placed party, but this is not always true. If other parties form a coalition, it can be in opposition. This happened in 1976 and 1980 when Helmut Schmidt, then-Chancellor, remained in office despite finishing second.

The process of forming a new federal government is free from any referee and has no time limit. To find the most common ground, parties hold exploratory talks. Then one party moves on to formal coalition negotiations.

These negotiations usually produce a detailed coalition agreement that outlines the plans of the new government. This agreement will usually need to be approved by at least one of the parties. The Social Democrats of the center, which emerged as the strongest party in Sunday's election, had ballots cast by their entire membership in 2013 to approve agreements to join Merkel’s centre-right Union bloc, its junior partner in government.

After a coalition has been formed, the German president nominates to Bundestag a candidate to become chancellor. This requires a majority vote from all members in order to be elected.

If the two attempts to elect a chancellor fail with a majority, the constitution permits the president to appoint either the candidate winning the most votes in the third vote or to dissolve and hold a national election. This has not happened yet.


Merkel and her government will continue to serve as a caretaker until her successor is elected by the Bundestag.

After an unsuccessful attempt to form another alliance, the outgoing coalition holds record for the longest time it took to form a government. Merkel was elected by the Bundestag to her fourth term on March 14, 2018, almost six months after German voters voted on September 24, 2017.

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