For business leaders, Sunday’s election in Germany’s most populous state produced a dream result that heralds a possible return to a center-right government for Germany in the September general election.
North Rhine-Westphalia, a traditional stronghold of the center-left Social Democrats, fell to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, and a surprisingly strong showing for the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) means the state will likely get a conservative coalition with the FDP.
That’s the constellation preferred by many in Germany’s business community, as the party leans toward tax cuts, government spending restraint and deregulation.
The FDP has been the junior partner in national coalition governments for a total of 45 years since 1949. It crashed out of parliament in 2013 but has made a comeback under its leader Christian Lindner, boosting its chances of reassuming its old role as kingmaker in German politics.
North Rhine-Westphalia was the third regional election win this year for Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), providing them with powerful momentum as they head into a election on Sept. 24.