German Federal Elections 2017

German FlagIt’s been a year of political shifts across much of Europe and the latest in a line of elections comes from Germany with voters going to the polls on September 24. Political betting has always had its supporters but after shock results in the UK and the US over the course of the previous 18 months, new punters are getting on board.

Germany’s electorate may not deliver a surprising outcome but we can still speculate and see if we can find some value in the available markets for the forthcoming Federal Election.

The System

The political system in Germany is a little more complicated than in other parts of the world and the act of winning a seat in a certain region isn’t necessarily a guarantee of a position in parliament (Bundestag). If a seat is won, the party in question will still need to claim 5% of the overall vote across the country: Get to that line and they can join in with the Bundestag but fall short and they will remain on the political fringes.

As for majorities, there are 598 seats in the Bundestag in total and any party seeking an overall majority must therefore claim 300 seats before they can do so. Anyone winning the poll and falling short of these levels could lead to a situation involving coalitions or minority rule as it can in other countries.

So now we have an idea as to the mechanics of German politics, let’s take a look at 2017’s main contenders.

Out in Front

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel

The ruling CDU / CSU Party lead by Angela Merkel are the favourites to win a clear majority in the house. Very short odds have been made available for this outcome with Bet365 among a number of bookies quoting 1/50 while the best price currently stands at 1/20 with SkyBet and BetFred.

Disregarding any potential coalitions, the next single party in the outright win markets are the SPD who are some way back at odds of 12/1 with Bet365. Following on are the right wing AFD at 100/1 with Paddy Power and 32Red while Die Linke – the left – are slightly further back from there at 125/1 with SkyBet and BetFred.

Those prices may show a clear winner but for those bettors hoping for an upset there has been a slight shift. At the start of August, the best price on an outright victory for Merkel’s CDU / CSU stood at 1/14 so the ruling party are drifting slightly. They remain way ahead as far as the betting is concerned but could that slight lengthening increase by election day?

2013 Result and Current Polls

When the German Federal Elections were last held in 2013, the CDU / CSU, led by Merkel, won 313 seats thereby securing a relatively comfortable majority. Since then, that number of seats has dropped to 309 but it is quite common for the electorate to rail against the government in by-elections so perhaps we should not read too much into that slight fall.

Martin Schulz

Martin Schulz

In second place with 193 votes was Martin Schulz and the SPD party whose tally accounted for 25.7% of the total electorate. It was a significant gap at the time and even though the ruling party have lost those four seats since the last poll, few are expecting any change in leadership.

The current polls show minor variations in percentages but they all have Angela Merkel and the ruling CDU / CSU party some way out in front. At the bottom end of the scale, the poll created by INSA has the current leadership at 30% of the overall votes so the only real question is whether that will be enough to create an overall majority.

In the outright betting markets, there are a number of options for coalition governments and the shortest priced of these is based on an alliance between the CDU / CSU and the SPD which is listed at 8/13 with Betfair.

Upset on the Cards?

In recent months there has been a rise in support for the far right party AFD who are listed at those odds of 100/1 to form a new government. According to the polls, their share of the final vote is likely to be in the region of around 10% to 11% so that wouldn’t be enough to gain a majority and it seems unlikely that any other party would seek to form a coalition with them.

As we saw in France, the right wing is gaining support but is it no more than a protest? We will know soon enough but while every political punter is looking for the next shock after Trump and Brexit, few are expecting it to happen in Germany.

Alternatives

Away from the betting markets for the outright winning party, there isn’t too much for us to consider in terms of side betting. The only alternative we can find at present involves the next Chancellor betting where Angela Merkel is an obvious favourite at 1/16 with MarathonBet.

That seems logical when you consider that Merkel’s party are even shorter favourites to be retained as the ruling party but it doesn’t necessarily follow that the existing Chancellor will stay on. Merkel has the option to resign and, of course, she could be removed and that possibility is underlined by the fact that by Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is an option in this particular market at a top price of 50/1 with MarathonBet once again.

Herr Guttenberg is a former Secretary General of the Christian Socialist Union who some feel may come back and oust Merkel following the elections. The other main contender in this market is Martin Schulz of the SPD who can be found at 13/2 with MarathonBet.

As the election draws closer there is the potential for further markets to be added and the possibility to back certain numbers of seats for the main parties plus others. For now, the outright winner betting may seem to hold a safe punt for many but there could be another political shock shortly. It may not take place in Germany but stranger things have happened.

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