Who will win the German election? Scholz odds-on to be chancellor

  • Max Liu
  • 4:00 min read
German election candidates Laschet, Baerbock and Scholz clash in a live TV debate
Laschet, Baerbock and Scholz clashed at last week's debate

It's been another week of big moves in the German election betting as Olaf Scholz shortens to odds-on for next chancellor and Armin Laschet drifts says Max Liu...

The CDU, along with their Bavarian sister party the CSU, are out to 4.67/2 in the election's most seats market. Scholz's centre-left Social Democrats are in to 1.330/100.

With three weeks to go until election day Olaf Scholz is 1.51/2 - a 66 % chance - to be Germany's next chancellor.

Armin Laschet - Angela Merkel's anointed heir apparent, who was for many months firm favourite - is out to 3.55/2 and could drift further unless he can turning things around quickly.

So far Laschet, who is standing for Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats, has showed no signs of being able to do that. He was supposed to be a safe pair of hands, the continuity candidate to see Germany through the post-Merkel years, when her 16 year reign reaches its end, and set the country on the path to a green future.

Instead, he has proved gaffe-prone and uninspiring, and the CDU, along with their Bavarian sister party the CSU, are out to 4.67/2 in the election's most seats market. Scholz's centre-left Social Democrats are in to 1.330/100.

The SPD are 1.454/9 to be the party of the next chancellor.

Polls this week gave the SPD a 3-5 point lead over the CDU/CSU - a position that hasn't been seen since the pre-Merkel era and would have seemed highly unlikely in recent years when the SPD were seen as a waning political force.

'Scholz will sort it'

Scholz, who has been vice-chancellor in Germany's coalition government for the last four years, has never been regarded as a particularly dynamic politician. But he has grown as the campaign has gone on and used his many years of experience, as a former-finance minister and Mayor of Hamburg, to benefit from the electorate's frustration with Laschet.

He has played up to his image as a technocrat, emphasising his competency and putting at the centre of his campaign policies on raising the minimum wage, building new homes and keeping pensions stable. The slogan is : "Scholz will sort it." It appears to be resonating with Germans who voted for Merkel but are unconvinced by Laschet and could now shift to the SPD.

Olaf Scholz.jpg

At last Sunday's first televised debate between the candidates, it was Scholz who gave the kind of calm and commanding display you might have expected from Merkel, while Laschet got involved in arguments with the Green Party candidate Annalena Baerbock and tried unsuccessfully to provoke Scholz.

Could Laschet still have last laugh?

The important thing to remember is that Germany's chancellor is not directly elected and the parties are likely to enter into coalition discussions once the election results come in.

There could be an opportunity over the next few weeks for the CDU/CSU to warn voters of what may happen if the SPD go into coalition with the Greens and, potentially, the left-wing Die Link.

Armin Laschet.jpg

Remember how the British Conservative Party successfully scared voters with the prospect of a Labour/SNP coalition at the UK general election in 2015 and upset the odds to win a majority? Germany's conservatives may follow a similar tactic in the next three weeks and warn of a leftward swing in the country under a Scholz chancellery.

Whether that will put people off voting SPD remains to be seen but the CDU will not give up easily. They will believe that, for all Scholz's positive polling, there is still the chance voters will get cold feet before election day.

The CDU/CSU needs to move quickly though and there are some who believe it may already be too late. The pandemic means that, for the first time in Germany's history, up to half of the electorate could vote by post this time.

Postal ballots have been with voters for two weeks and many of them may already have been mailed. If so, that's bad news for Laschet. But don't write off him, or the CDU/CSU, just yet.

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