The Social Democrats came third in the state election of Schleswig Holstein, behind the Greens and the night’s big winner, the conservative CDU, logging their worst election result in the state since the end of World War II.
According to current projections, the CDU won over 43% of the votes, compared to 32% in 2017. The Greens, currently in a coalition with the CDU and the liberal FDP, secured 18%, outperforming the Social Democrats (SPD) with 16%, a 10% drop compared to 2017.
SPD general secretary Kevin Kühnert stressed that the election was not a mood test for Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “There is no Olaf Scholz in this defeat.” Scholz is a chancellor who “leads politics with a steady hand and prudence,” Kühnert said.
However, according to recent polling, only 23% of Germans would vote for the SPD in a federal election, three percentage points behind the conservative CDU.
Whether the defeat in Schleswig Holstein is setting a negative trend for the SPD could be decided on 15 May when North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, heads to the polls. Current polling suggests a head-to-head race between the CDU and the SPD.