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Angela Merkel to run for a fourth term

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  • Angela Merkel to run for a fourth term

    Angela Merkel could become the longest serving post-war geman leader. In case she wins the 2017 elections in that she has just announced to run. And that election will also be of interest in the US.....
    Part of Merkels success recipe was constantly beeing underestimated and liking it that way. The history of her political career is plastered with ( mostly male) opponents that she either wiped the floor with or that she over time turned into partners. She rose to power, slowly but determined in a christian democratic party dominated by old wealthy conservative men---until the entire party leadership was axed by a donations scandal and she took her chance. She took center stage in the Eurocrisis and the refugee crisis, she kicked of her countrys "green" energy transformation, was damned for austerity allegedly inflicted on southern Europe as well as hailed for taking a big risk on refugees, sparred with Putin over Ukraine, she was hailed as "the indespensable European" ( the Economist) but also harshly attacked by Trump during his campaign, in ways that make it still questionable wether the two leaders will find a way to get along. Merkel, in spite ( or because) of beeing an unquestionably VERY shrewd politician is famous for never beeing boastful and always beeing polite ( even if she nails ones skin to the wall) and never making promises she cant keep ( a famous reply to various arguments put forward by her challenger in 2013, Peer Steinbrck, was simply "You know me. Good evening")
    Merkel is completely scandal-free, lives in a modest flat in Berlin, with her media shy husband, can occasionally be seen doing her own shopping in supermarkets, holidays in the Alps and possesses the charisma and orator skills of a broomstick. And risk- as well as glamour ( in politicians)-averse Germans like her precisely for that. If elections were tomorrow, Merkel would pretty much without doubt win. Not least because Germans have experienced her reign as a period of stability, prosperity, full employment and budget in the black. And the rather tough global environement does not exactly inspire appetite for a change of a "safe pair of hands". Which is exactly what Merkels campaign will be about.....
    Last edited by Voland; 11-21-2016, 04:29 AM.

  • #2
    Martin Schulz, the (german) president of the European Parliament and arguably second most powerful "Eurocrat" has announced to quit his post and enter german politics. And in Germany most observers would be very surprised if Schulz doesnt emerge very soon as running against Merkel for the post of german chancellor ( on the social-democratic ticket). More likely than this article makes it appear. People interested in european politics would not be mistaken to remember this guy :


    • #3
      Voland are there any Eurosceptic parties in Germany and if so how popular are they?
      Given that Germany is the largest contributor of cash how much does that issue play out?


      • #4
        Originally posted by PeterUK75 View Post
        Voland are there any Eurosceptic parties in Germany and if so how popular are they?
        Given that Germany is the largest contributor of cash how much does that issue play out?

        Well, all parties represented in the Bundestag ( the german parliament), from left till right, are broadly pro-EU. They differ in nuances ( Merkel has often been criticized for beeing either too lenient or too rigid on Greece f.e.), but not in substance on the European Union.
        And I know that many Brits simply deny this : But "europeanization" of national identities, in the sense that people increasingly define themselves as local, national AND european is a reality making progress in vast parts of the continent, ( not least) including Germany. These people may not make as much noise as the "eurosceptics", but they are there, and easily more than them.
        It is true that Germans are not exactly enthusiastic about beeing arguable paymasters, and it also true that they havent sought leadership, it was in a way thrust on them. But on the other hand there is no appetite visible ( and not even a serious political offer, not even by "Eurosecptics") to unravel the whole tissue of european integration that has been woven since the Rome treaties (1957). Odds are that the inevitable price, also where that means cost, will be paid, also with the consent of voters (taxpayers). Since there is neither a practical nor an existencial alternative that would involve similar political and economical dividends. Not to mention the "european" factor.
        Merkels only serious challenger will come from the left and especially if it is Martin Schulz indeed than any doubts about Germanys pro-european orientation can be safely put to rest.
        That is also reflected in the polls. They differ mildly, but depending which source you use it is never less than around 80 % that support their countrys EU membership ( and sometimes more than that) The remaining around 15 % that in the polls are either ambivalent or inclined to vote against largely correspond with the potential estimated for the AFD ( Alternative for Germany), that the british press also likes to refer to as the "german UKIP". The AFD was founded by disgruntled conservatives a couple of years ago who felt that Merkel had moved far to deep in the political center, originally as a one-issue anti-Euro ( the currency) party. Yet since very few Germans consider getting rid of the Euro a priority the AFD had to look for other vote catchers-and discovered the refugee crisis and immigration. The AFDs fanbase consists of many previous non-voters as well as right wing conservatives for whom Merkels has shifted too far to the left. In the East, especially in regions that have been economically struggling since the reeunion the AFD has also been quite sucessful at picking up votes from disgruntled GDR nostalgics as well as the very far-right ( the openly neonazi NPD, that had been represented in several state parliaments, has suddenly largely dissappeared. Because their voters moved to the AFD).
        Yet : The AFD lacks charismatic leadership ( it has no Farage, no Le Pen and most certainly no reincarnation of a guy with a moustache), it has no coherent program, and a party that suggests things like police opening fire on refugees is not an option even for many on the democratic right that generally support a hard line. And also the refugee issue has lost some of its urgency, since it is obvious that Germany may have been creaking last year, but didnt loose control ( which is also reflected in Merkels approval ratings, around 60 %)
        Additionally even potential AFD voters might think twice wether they abhor Merkel enough to help a left-wing chancellor in the saddle. Since that could be the very real result of them splitting the right wing vote.
        Germanys political system requires always building coalitions and consensus, since the governement always and at any time needs the backing of the parliamentary majority. Which means that even if we give the AFD 20 % they would not get anywhere near any positions of power. Merkel has categorically ruled out any cooperation or pandering and coalitions with parties more to the left would be complete fantasy. The experience with protest parties of the past would be that IF they get into parliament they will within a short timeframe tear themselves apart once faced with the challenge of having to deliver on their promises. Which means they would be completely useless, spend a few years burping slogans and get the boot from their fanbase after that. Has already happened before.
        Last edited by Voland; 11-25-2016, 03:52 AM.


        • #5
          Thanks for that.
          I suppose it also helps that you have open boarders with other EU countries so there's more free interaction as the only similar situation we have is with Ireland.


          • #6
            Yes, of Course. Just start with the example of Luxembourg, that managed the transformation from an agricultural backwater to one of the most vibrant spots of Europe and one of the wealthiest countries-- due to open borders :


            .......Some 45 percent of Luxembourgs population of 550,000 are foreigners, over four-fifths of whom are EU citizens. The ruling coalition of Liberals and Socialists that came to power in 2013 even tried to give longtime foreign residents the right to vote in national elections, although this was rejected in a referendum in June 2015............This Mischkultur, or mixed culture, has become part of Luxembourgs DNA. Luxembourg, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said, is in some ways the incarnation of the European spirit. Bettels grandparents were born in four different countries.

            A foreigner who has worked in the countrys trust sector for years concurred: We talk little about European integration. We live it. Without Europe, Luxembourg would not exist.


            • #7
              With the Social Democrats putting Martin Schulz ( yes, I know, commander Schultz ), until earlier this year president of the European Parliament, on the shield to run against Merkel ( elections in September) , Germanys "eternal" chancellor ( since 2005) now has a real fight for power on her hands. Schulz also proves that Germany ticks different than many other western countries. Merkels challenger comes from the left, not from the right. And neither Brexiters nor Trumpists have a reason to be cheerleading Schulz.... :