In Saarland, one of the smallest federal states in Germany, the center-left Social Democrats have just won the regional elections. Prime Minister Tobias Hans’ conservative Christian Democrats have been removed from office.
Berlin, March 27, 2022. Update: March 28, 2022, 5:44 a.m. CEDT (The Berlin Spectator) — Since last year, the SPD has continued to win elections. In September, the Social Democrats won a big hat-trick. The trend continued on Sunday in Saarland, where some 750,000 inhabitants out of nearly a million had the right to vote. Governor Tobias Hans of the CDU, which is the conservative party of former Chancellor Angela Merkel, leads a grand coalition. He lost to his own Trade Minister Anke Rehlinger of the SPD.
Until now, the SPD was the junior partner of the CDU coalition. Now those roles could be reversed. Or another type of government coalition could be formed in Saarbrücken. The SPD has achieved an absolute majority, which means that it can even govern alone.
Regional elections in Saarland: final result
‘Die Linke’: 2.6
End of era
The SPD overtook the CDU, which lost a lot compared to the last elections in 2017. Apart from them, only the far-right AfD will be in parliament. The Greens would have needed 23 more votes to enter and the FDP ended up 0.2% below the 5% mark. Some 33,000 former CDU voters this time chose the SPD. In total, the Social Democrats won 48,000 votes more than last time. In the little Saarland, that’s a lot.
The Christian Democrats governed Saarland for 22 years. Before, the small state with only three electoral districts was an SPD stronghold, which it seems to be again now. Former Saarland Prime Minister Oskar Lafontaine co-led the SPD and was German finance minister before switching parties and becoming chairman of ‘Die Linke’ (‘The Left’), before recently quitting that party also. His successor Reinhard Klimmt reigned for less than a year, until the CDU took power in 1999. His era there has just ended.
Corona and Fuel
Tobias Hans, who is only 44 years old, caught the attention of the whole country during the current Corona crisis, when he wanted to get rid of most of the Corona rules while the number of infections in his status was among the highest in Germany. Recently, he posted a video on social media in which he complained about high fuel prices and said they affected “low wages and many diligent people”. This quote was not very well received, neither in Saarland nor beyond.
Eighteen minutes after the screenings were made public, winner Anke Rehlinger said the result was the result of hard work. It was a big effort to regain people’s trust. The loser of the evening, Prime Minister Tobias Hans, told ZDF television it was a “big defeat”. He said he would “take appropriate action”, which likely means he will step down on Monday.
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