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Angela Merkel to step down--as party leader

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  • Angela Merkel to step down--as party leader

    It was never in doubt that german chancellor Merkels fourth term would be her last. And those that are familiar with "merkelist" politics also never seriously doubted that the german leader would pick her time and style of departure, instead of waiting to be carried or pushed to the exit. While it is true that her fourth governement is her least popular, and mostly made headlines with infighting (especially Merkel and bavarian leader Seehofer), and it is also true that her CDU party suffered embarassing losses in the prosperous and actually conservative state of Hessen this weekend state elections arent federal elections ( just as in the US) and Merkel is still popular.
    Yet she apparently considers the time appropriate to enter her own political dawn. Merkel has announced to step down as party leader ( that she was since 2000) and confirmed that she wont run again for chancellor in 2021 (she was chancellor since 2005).
    The decision is considered to give a successor time to grow into the position and thus whoever replaces her in party leadership is considered to be a hot pick for Germanys next leader. Merkel is considered to favour Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a former governor of the western state of Saarland ( bordering France) and like her a centrist conservative. That Merkel denies to eye an EU post is something that noone HAS to believe. A lot can change in a few years :




    https://www.politico.eu/article/merk...eader-reports/

  • #2
    Bring me up to date, Voland: Did her party suffer some noteworthy losses in a recent election?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by DavidSF View Post
      Bring me up to date, Voland: Did her party suffer some noteworthy losses in a recent election?

      Yes, they have, though not to the extent of loosing power. And then people will tend to vote on state issues in local elections, not so much on federal issues. Yet the party leader bears at least political responsibility, as Merkel has acknowledged herself.
      In a way that is a typical Merkel move. Most of all, she catches everybody off guard. In Bavaria she wasnt even on the ballot ( but her inner coalition enemy Seehofer, that had his pants torn down, ) and in Hessen ( the state where Frankfurt is) the result was not as bad at it could have been. And most of all the CDU didnt loose power. And thus a retreat at this point in time wouldnt have been compulsory.
      But by making this announcement now, she avoids the vultures circling over her ( and disturbing her attempts to set her legacy). She leaves on her own terms and has set the date anyway.
      She achieves quiet on the inner party front (where Merkel has a considerable number of enemies), because potential successors will now go to battle with each other ( and not with the chancellor) , which means that Merkel will be freer of party constraints in decisions as chancellor.
      How long the current governement lasts ( which is obviously not a love marriage) will also depend on who the party elects as leader, a centrist and Merkel loyalist like Mrs. Kramp-Karrenbauer ( also known as "AKK" in german politics) or minister of economics Peter Altmeier or a rightie like health minister Jens Spahn. That would be a risky move though, since the CDU has (evidently) lost more votes in the political centre than on the right recently. If it is the latter than I would expect new elections rather sooner than later. And whoever it is, will almost certainly run for the chancellery after Merkel.
      Well, it is the end of an era. On the other hand Merkels announcement today is probably the smartest and least disruptive way to manage such a transition. Regardless wether one likes Merkel or not, it is a positive sign if political leaders know when it is time to take a step back.

      Merkels successor will almost certainly be one of these people :


      https://www.dw.com/en/angela-merkels...lor/g-42213336
      Last edited by Voland; 2 weeks ago.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Voland View Post


        Yes, they have, though not to the extent of loosing power. And then people will tend to vote on state issues in local elections, not so much on federal issues. Yet the party leader bears at least political responsibility, as Merkel has acknowledged herself.
        In a way that is a typical Merkel move. Most of all, she catches everybody off guard. In Bavaria she wasnt even on the ballot ( but her inner coalition enemy Seehofer, that had his pants torn down, ) and in Hessen ( the state where Frankfurt is) the result was not as bad at it could have been. And most of all the CDU didnt loose power. And thus a retreat at this point in time wouldnt have been compulsory.
        But by making this announcement now, she avoids the vultures circling over her ( and disturbing her attempts to set her legacy). She leaves on her own terms and has set the date anyway.
        She achieves quiet on the inner party front (where Merkel has a considerable number of enemies), because potential successors will now go to battle with each other ( and not with the chancellor) , which means that Merkel will be freer of party constraints in decisions as chancellor.
        How long the current governement lasts ( which is obviously not a love marriage) will also depend on who the party elects as leader, a centrist and Merkel loyalist like Mrs. Kramp-Karrenbauer ( also known as "AKK" in german politics) or minister of economics Peter Altmeier or a rightie like health minister Jens Spahn. That would be a risky move though, since the CDU has (evidently) lost more votes in the political centre than on the right recently. If it is the latter than I would expect new elections rather sooner than later. And whoever it is, will almost certainly run for the chancellery after Merkel.
        Well, it is the end of an era. On the other hand Merkels announcement today is probably the smartest and least disruptive way to manage such a transition. Regardless wether one likes Merkel or not, it is a positive sign if political leaders know when it is time to take a step back.

        Merkels successor will almost certainly be one of these people :


        https://www.dw.com/en/angela-merkels...lor/g-42213336
        This lineup looks like picks for the next ministry and/or the transition team should CDU/alliance continue in majority in 2021. That is typical in most republics. A couple things stand out for me: Friedrich Merz has been in the private sector now for several years, but announced he would jump back in immediately after Merkel's announcement. That's curious, unless Merz has been keeping up his contacts within the gov't., offering his opinions in the press over the years and otherwise keeping his chair warm.

        The other thing is the "spread" or range of political alliance taken on by the CDU. We are presented with Bouffier from the state of Hesse, leading an alliance with the Greens. OTOH, we see Sder from Bavaria, in a leadership arrangement involving the CDU and CSU. In short, a center/left alliance in one state, a center/right alliance in another. The CDU has apparently achieved one of the most sought-after goals of political parties 'round the world: It has it's fingers in nearly every pie. Was this a recent strategy developed by Merkel's group, or was this a longer term objective going back decades in the CDU?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by radcentr View Post
          This lineup looks like picks for the next ministry and/or the transition team should CDU/alliance continue in majority in 2021. That is typical in most republics. A couple things stand out for me: Friedrich Merz has been in the private sector now for several years, but announced he would jump back in immediately after Merkel's announcement. That's curious, unless Merz has been keeping up his contacts within the gov't., offering his opinions in the press over the years and otherwise keeping his chair warm.

          The other thing is the "spread" or range of political alliance taken on by the CDU. We are presented with Bouffier from the state of Hesse, leading an alliance with the Greens. OTOH, we see Sder from Bavaria, in a leadership arrangement involving the CDU and CSU. In short, a center/left alliance in one state, a center/right alliance in another. The CDU has apparently achieved one of the most sought-after goals of political parties 'round the world: It has it's fingers in nearly every pie. Was this a recent strategy developed by Merkel's group, or was this a longer term objective going back decades in the CDU?

          It is not unusual in german politics to switch back and forth between private sector, "real life" and politics. Merkel was a scientific researcher with a doctorate in physics prior to entering politics in her late thirties. Friedrich Merz is a respected tax and finance expert (also respected across party lines) and he was also considered "chancellor material" by some - - prior to falling from grace with Merkel ( that tended to deal swiftly and brutally with potential challengers). Which is why he understandably took a job in the private sector. Yet as far as a comeback is concerned : He might be a possible pick for minister of economics or finance in a future CDU government, and even a sensible one, yet he is Merkels age. And he has not been a political insider for the last decade or so, which means that it may not be very likely for him to get the top job.
          As far as permanent coalitions are concerned : The fathers (and mothers) that stood by the cradle of the Federal Republic in 1949 were mostly people with personal experience of naziism, concentration camps, gulags and Gestapo terror. They sought to build a political system that never concentrates too much power in one position, that cannot easily be taken over by mobs or elites and that forces political players to permanently interact with each other. Which keeps political discourse rather civil. You have to keep your options open, if you want to govern. Merkel has governed in tandem with the Libertarians (FDP) as well as the Social Democrats and the Bavarian Separatists (CSU). On the state level her party is in a coalition with the Greens as the junior partner ( supporting the green governor !) in the auto state of Baden-Wuertemberg and in Hessen, two of the most prosperous corners of the country. Under the german system ( that is often ignored abroad) the chancellor is as much a moderator and a mediator ( keeping partners in check through constant compromise) than a leader. The pragmatic centrist Merkel was obviously more suitable than most to govern with everyone except far left and far right. Her successor ? We will have to see. Yet the system is stable. What is changing is the post-war political makeup (with two large center-right/left parties running the show by picking partners), social milieus, demographics and all that. Yet it is rather likely that also the next chancellor will be from the CDU, with a rather centrist profile-and I would pay attention to the Greens as potential partners.
          And if I am supposed to bet than I would say Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer ("AKK") is a name that someone interested in German (and european politics) could do worse than to keep in mind.

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          • #6
            Three of the line-up above begin to emerge as serious candidates, with one more waiting in the wings (for probably having the last laugh).
            Friedrich Merz is the most high-profile candidate and he is well connected in business and industry. Also internationally he would largely stand for continuity. He is also chairman of an organization promoting close german/american ties, the "Atlantic Bridge". Yet he is Merkels age (a new beginning? Hardly) and he is remarkably less scandal-proof. He was't in the past and today every journalist in Germany would sell his granny and her dog to come up with dirt on Merz prior to the party convention, which is not at all out of the question. Most probably in connection to his involvement with various players in global finance industries that have made certain headlines during the 2008 meltdown. A party leader and candidate for the chancellery Merz would let the AFD rejoice ("global capitalist") and would limit the CDUs coalition options.
            Health Minister Spahn is an outspoken rightie, that has various times tried to surf populist waves (like during the refugee crisis). As minister he has in all fairness not excelled yet putting him in a minister chair was merely a tactical move from Merkel anyway. As party leader he would lead the CDU firmly to the right, probably to the extent of crushing the AFD. Or forcing them to drop their more rowdy elements to be prepared for potential coalitions. Yet he would tear the party apart. Which is why he won't make it.
            Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is a loyal Merkel ally and stands for a similar, centrist political course. She has not served as minister but already run a state as governor (including beeing re-elected). And while Merkel won't openly endorse her it is quite clear who her supporters will put on the shield. With "AKK" the CDU also has more coalition options. The Greens might not stand for Merz and they certainly won't for Spahn. Yet coalition options can be key to power options.
            And lastly there is Armin Laschet, governor of the most populous state of Nordrhein-Westfalen (where Cologne is) waiting in the wings. Laschet belongs to the liberal wing of the CDU on societal matters, but he is also law and order. He has defended Merkel in the refugee crisis, but also ordered police crackdowns on unruly migrants. He is open to parliamentary cooperation with the Greens, yet has recently taken the side of energy companies in a confrontation over a historic forest cut down for coal mining. Laschet is flexible and astute enough to emerge as man of the match if all three fail. So he shouldn't be discounted.

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            • #7



              I've read that also some US policymakers are increasingly concerned that Trump getting his more than once expressed wish ( Merkels political end) may actually not be in the USs interest. Less for fears of instability in Germany (that isn't wedded to Merkels political fate) but because no other european leader has Merkels authority. Like to knock heads together, to stare down Wladimir Putin or to pool european interests beyond her country. Having Merkel around also makes US foreign policy easier. Without her, some things get less predictable.
              Friedrich Merz is old school (pre-Merkel CDU) right, Spahn is "new" populist right, and "AKK" is a "Merkelist" . The maximum that Spahn can hope for is to become kingmaker. Assuming he assembles enough votes. Merz is clearly the guy that german business would like. Yet he is not at all safely removed from anything that happened in the finance sector within the last one/two decades. He has run european operations of the not at all scandal - proof US fund administrator Blackrock for a couple of years f. e. He worked for two banks that can be linked to the "cum/ex" scandal (massive tax/fraud scandal based on exploiting inner EU loopholes). And he was already once fined by the Bundestag (German parliament) for undeclared side jobs. Merz is a big political talent, but more likely than not with skeletons in the closet. We will have to see.
              AKK, beeing a "Merkelist" means for "real" conservatives that she has no non-negotiatable convictions at all. In other eyes she stands for the liberal, radically centrist, yet also values-based (refugee crisis?) political approach that also Merkel stood by (and with that she won elections) . And obviously : Regarding coalition options AKK is by far the most flexible.
              Nahles is definitely out of the game (regarding her party's polling). The center/left force to watch will be the Greens, that have roots in the eco-movement, but that have long moved beyond that. They govern the auto-state Baden-Wrttemberg after all (home of Porsche and Mercedes). With the CDU as junior partner
              Last edited by Voland; 1 week ago.

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