(Berlin) After its scathing defeat in the European elections, Olaf Scholz’s German coalition, already at loggerheads, appears more fragile than ever and calls for a change of course, or even early legislative elections, are increasing.

Demanded by the far right and conservative leaders, the idea of ​​an early vote was not considered “at any time, not for a second”, the Chancellor’s spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit was quick to respond on Monday, pointing out the difference between the French and German political systems.

The Social Democrats (SPD) suffered a historic defeat which could seriously call into question a new candidacy of Olaf Scholz during the legislative elections scheduled for fall 2025.

With 13.9% of the vote, according to provisional results, the Social Democrats suffered their worst result in a national election since 1949, worse than their score in the 2019 European elections (15.8%), in free fall compared to in the 2021 legislative elections (25.7%).

They are trailing the conservatives (30%) and the far-right AfD (15.9%), whose voters have not been deterred by the party’s radical rhetoric and a recent series of scandals.

For Mr Scholz’s government partners, the Greens (11.9%) and the Liberals (5.2%), the awakening is just as brutal.

This “coalition of losers”, as the center-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung calls it, is obtaining even more disastrous results in eastern Germany where regional elections will be held for three Länder in September. The far right comes well ahead of Sunday’s poll in these regions.

“Scholz invested heavily in this campaign and it was to no avail. On the contrary, his strong presence may have even reinforced the downward trend” for his party, asserts the weekly Der Spiegel. “After this personal defeat, he must say how he wants to continue to lead […] Otherwise the country risks paralysis,” he warns.

Unlike President Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz did not react to the results on Sunday.

“For Olaf Scholz, the words “consequences” and “greatness” are Chinese when it comes to his role as chancellor,” criticizes the conservative daily Die Welt.

“Emmanuel Macron has shown what it means to draw conclusions […] Olaf Scholz should follow. A chancellor cannot come from a party with a score of 14%,” he adds.

On Monday, Bavarian conservative Markus Söder called for elections “as quickly as possible” and “a new start for our country”.

Mr. Scholz must “open the way to new elections – instead of governing for another year against a large majority of the population,” said AfD co-president Alice Weidel on her X account.

Until now, the oldest party in Germany has closed ranks behind its leader. But Sunday’s score reignited the debate: “With 14 percent, no one has the undisputed claim to lead the SPD,” said former Social Democrats leader Sigmar Gabriel.

Among the potential replacements is the popular Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius. The question of whether the latter would not be the best candidate for 2025 “will come back with a vengeance”, estimates Süddeutsche Zeitung.

For ecologists, the result shows that the climate no longer mobilizes: they obtained almost 9 points more at 20.5% in 2019.

“Five years ago, the fight against climate change was a subject that allowed you to score points, now it is a burden,” notes Der Spiegel.

Olaf Scholz’s coalition will very quickly be confronted with the first after-effects of its failure, with the negotiations for the 2025 budget which must be presented at the beginning of July.

Faced with the cuts demanded by the liberal Minister of Finance Christian Lindner, the battle promises to be ruthless with the ecologists and the social democrats. Under the gaze of voters who expressed their weariness of these power games on Sunday.