The Social Democratic Party (SPD) has narrowly come out on top in the German election, according to preliminary results. This means Angela Merkel’s CDU, now led by Armin Laschet, has been defeated after 16 years in power. However, leaders from both the SPD and CDU remain convinced they can form governments – it is almost certain that a coalition of three parties will be formed. SPD leader, Olaf Scholz, was greeted with applause by his supporters as he told a televised audience the voters had given him the job of forming a “good, pragmatic government for Germany”.
It will likely be weeks or even months until a new government is formed in Germany, but the result is already sending shockwaves around the world.
US President Joe Biden has reacted to the results – a reporter notified him of the SPD’s narrow win.
He responded: “I’ll be darned. They’re solid.”
President Biden hosted Ms Merkel at the White House in July for the first and last time.
At the meeting, Mr Biden said: “On a personal note, I must tell you I will miss seeing you at our summits. I truly will.”
Ms Merkel referred to the US President as “Dear Joe” and said that it was in any German Chancellor’s interest to “work with every American president.”
She added: “Today was a very friendly exchange.”
Washington and Berlin have been at odds on some foreign policy issues, however, as the US continues to oppose Germany’s Nord Stream 2 project with Russia.
Some are concerned it will threaten European energy security by increasing the continent’s reliance on Russian gas and allowing Russia to exert political pressure on vulnerable Eastern and Central European nations.
However, Mr Biden did recently waive sanctions against German entities involved in the project.
With Mr Scholz potentially poised to shake up German politics, many will also be wondering how his presence on the international stage could impact foreign relations.
Reuters reported in January that Mr Scholz was “confident of a good start” to transatlantic relations with Mr Biden after he defeated Donald Trump last year.
Mr Biden faces his own crunch moment in the US as a series of votes this week could curtail the President’s spending plans.
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The first key vote will be for a $1trillion (£730billion) infrastructure bill, intended to rebuild America’s crumbling bridges and roads as well as improving public transport with significant investment in rail.
Already passed by the Senate, the measure has bipartisan support.
Some on the left of the Democratic Party are poised to oppose the plan, however, if they don’t get what they want in a social care package.
Christopher Galdieri, an associate professor of politics at Saint Anselm College, was pessimistic about whether Mr Biden could get his ambitious programme through Congress.
He told the Telegraph: “The problem with the big bill is you have folks who won’t say what they want and what they will object to. They won’t say whether they will accept two trillion or 1.5 trillion.
“They have to come forward and say what they will support. Until they do, the administration is stuck.
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“It’s incredibly high stakes. Everything is in the one bill – child care, expanding medicare and community college. There is no Plan B.”
Meanwhile, Mr Biden is facing yet more attacks from Mr Trump.
Speaking for more than 90 minutes in the rural town of Perry, Georgia, the former president questioned whether his successor was truly in charge of his administration and said the handling of the Afghan withdrawal showed he was a “stupid son of a b****”.
Mr Trump said: “In Afghanistan, [Biden] humiliated our nation with the appalling display of incompetence.
“After just eight months, Joe Biden and the radical Democrats are well on their way to turning America into a third world country.
“American sovereignty is being extinguished by the deliberate and wilful policies put in place by Joe Biden and the left-wing extremists. I don’t know if Joe is exactly involved.”
The onslaught comes amid speculation Mr Trump could once again run for President in 2024.