09/28/2009 11:02 PM
Dubai: German expatriates gathered on Sunday night to watch the outcome of the national elections taking place in Germany, in which low voter turnout was expected and Chancellor Angela Merkel was largely anticipated to remain as the only female leader of a major world power.
Merkel's party, the Christian Democratic Union, held the lead over its nearest rival, the Social Democratic Party and won the general election, becoming the first leader of a major European country to win re-election since the global financial crisis struck last year.
Extremely accurate exit poll results which were posted on Twitter before the voting had ended has led German election officials to investigate a number of tweets claiming to show the results for the main parties that appeared one hour before polling stations closed.
In Dubai, German residents were largely happy and not surprised to see Merkel win the election under the mandate to form a new government with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) that is expected to cut taxes to boost growth.
Kai, a resident who spends half his time in the UAE and half in Germany said the decision was quite clear from the exit poll interviews. "It could have been fifty-fifty because of the great coalition formed between the parties. Overall I am not unhappy with the outcome," he told Gulf News.
Another German resident who has lived for a number of years outside Germany said more laws were passed under Merkel's government in the last four years than before. "She is doing much better than people anticipated. Both party leaders were not in a duel though, it was more of a duet," said the man who said he was a social democrat supporter.
Friederike Moeschel, director of the Goethe Institut, an international German language and cultural centre in Dubai, said it was comforting to see both leading parties working together despite their differences to face the future.
"As an expatriate now, the economic situation is big .... If money is going to be used to support the economy will there be enough for the education sector? Education costs money, if taxes are lowered where will the financial support come from for education," she said.