The German political news exploded when supposedly they had taken a big step back to a far-right regime in the federal state of Thuringia, and the news can't enough of fear mongering or so it seems. But if we take a look under the veil and see what is actually happening things look way, way different. It's not hard to predict that this will migrate a lot of voters from the left and center to the right.
[Source for the pictures and some info from Wikipedia here]
This is how I've been informed from German sources:
Like many countries Germany doesn't have a two-party system but tons of parties that usually need to get at least 5% of the vote in order to become relevant and sit in their parliaments. Such is the case for the "Landtag" (federal parliament) in "Thüringen" (federal state), one of the more eastern federal states of Germany from where you will likely have heard stories of "the far right" making progress (even though the party having received the most votes there in said election is called "Die Linke", which literally translates into "The Left"). This is how the election of the people, translated into seats of the federal government looks, and I'll talk about the parties involved below:
So let's start from the top:
The Left ("Die Linke"): A far-left party. The leftmost of those in parliament. The name says everything, doesn't it?
Alternative for Germany [AfD] ("Alternative für Deutschland"): The "far-right" party everyone is talking about. Though in reality they aren't that far to the right, like halfway between the middle and the right edge of the political compass. A typical populist-nationalist party that wants to secure borders and other common sense policies.
Christian Democratic Union [CDU] ("Christlich Demokratische Union"): While they might have "Christian" in the name as far as I'm told there's nothing left of that in the party. They are somewhere to the left of the actual center.
Social Democratic Party [SDP] ("Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschland"): Pretty much halfway between the left edge and the middle of the political compass. Probably the rightmost of what would be the "left block".
Alliance 90/The Greens ("Bündnis 90/Die Grünen): A typical green party. Lots of collectivist policies, CO2 is the biggest enemy of humanity, give us all your money so we can fix it and don't ever mention China or India, or real science. Trust us!
Free Democratic Party [FDP] ("Freie Demokratische Partei"): Right-of-center mostly Capitalism-centered party. They were elected into parliament with as little as 73 more ballots than required to reach the 5% required. At a total count of 1,108,388 ballots were cast. It was insanely close for them to even get into parliament.
This leads to the formation of certain "blocks":
The "left block" would be The Left, The Greens and the SPD. They had been the previous government, but with the 2019 federal election they lost the simple majority.
The "center block" would be the CDU and FDP.
The "right block", if there is such a thing, is the AfD alone.
In theory elections are simple, even in a many-party system: If a party has the majority they govern. Otherwise two or more parties together making up a majority gather up and sign a coalition treaty as a guideline for their common policy, based on compromise. But in Germany there is a concept called "Minderheitsregierung" which means "Minority Government". In this one or more parties can sign a coalition treaty even though together they still don't have >50% of votes. To solidify it, as far as I know, they need to elect a "Ministerpresident" (minister president). This is exactly what the left block intended to do.
Together they have 29 + 8 + 5 = 42 of 90 seats. Just 4 short of the majority. The amount of votes required to elect the candidate is defined so:
For the first round the candidate needs to have a simple majority (46 of 90). If none win a second round is held, which has the same threshold. In the last round simply the most voted for candidate wins.
Thus they tried to go ahead and elect Bodo Ramelow from The Left. The AfD put up a counter candidate: Christopher Kindervater, who officially isn't in the AfD but still is their candidate. The FDP also signaled that, should nobody win in the first and second round, they would put up Thomas Kemmerich. Though as they are the smallest party that was more of a "let's at least throw our hat in for the final round" kind of thing than a real candidacy.
The plan of the left block was to, should they fail the first two rounds, at least convince enough others to join them and elect Ramelow in any of the rounds. Even if they didn't win there, if the AfD votes for Kindervater, and the center block for Kemmerich, they would still win with no risk whatsoever. But it didn't go this way:
Little mistake in the graphic: Christoph Kindervater did run in the third round, yet didn't receive any votes.
The Kindervater was well behind in the first two rounds, in the second actually getting only half of the ballots Ramelow got. The latter was only 2 ballots away from winning but didn't succeed, probably due to the high amount of Abstentions which were cast by the center bloc.
Then there was the last round and I can only imagine what the AfD was talking about this exact scenario:
"We don't have a way to elect Kindervater unless the other parties for whatever reason join us, and they all without exception promised not to, never, not going to happen. So what we'll do is instead all vote for Kemmerich. He's not our guy but he's better than what the left block wants." Or in other words: "We'll make a compromise."
And in the end, by the power of one single Abstention, Kemmerich was elected. Picture the heads of the left and their news media exploding.
Read this. Have some fun of crybabies being salty:
Oh no, a minister president was elected with the power of the evil far-far-far-far-far-far-far-right, he's evil now too, so evil we're literally going to mob him out of office and have Merkel herself denounce the election (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-51399445)! What has he done that is so bad that he can't rightfully claim office? He was elected by the bad guys, and that violates our sacred oath to never-ever-and-if-the-world-ends vote with the bad guys. If he's preferable to them instead of abstention then he's gotta be evil too!
And the new Nazi party, the AfD? How dare they even vote for someone! Can't they just go away? Let's compare them with Nazis more, even though we are the ones not accepting the election of moderate politicians and wanting a do-over to get our far-left guy into power! That'll help at the ballot box, I'm sure! We can't have anyone be put into power by the evil ones. That'd legitimize them as rightfully being in parliaments. And we know that their voters are trash, not fit to vote and sub-human, and thus the lot of them should simply disappear all together!
At least, that's how I imagine them in their heads. So what now?
Now the circus continues. Every German I know and I'm told of shaking their head. Even the left-wing ones. As far as I'm told they don't like the AfD, but they hate how the left block is conducting themselves, crying over a lost election because they thought they could rule even without a majority.
I'm looking forward to what happens now. But it's safe to say that was worth millions of € in campaign money for the AfD, should there be a repeat election. Because, as far as I know, if they cannot in any way elect someone into office and unify behind one candidate (who stays) then the entire election of Thuringia is going to be repeated.
But it's almost safe to assume the on average cowardly politicians of Germany will elect Ramelow, should he run again. They think it's harmful to them if they are mentioned in the same sentence as the AfD. So as far as I'm concerned, I think Ramelow will win again. At the cost of exposing the left-wing in Germany for what the are:
Unable to compromise on common values, always demanding everything and thus at the risk of losing everything next time.
Personally, I'd love to see what they do if the AfD elects Ramelow this time :)