Sunday, 20 October, 2019


Once A Contender, Angela Merkel's Main Rival Stumbles As Election Approaches

Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel | Sean Gallup  Getty Images Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel | Sean Gallup Getty Images
Bennie Garza | 20 September, 2017, 06:58

According to Action Economics, that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will remain in office after next Sunday's election is nearly certain, and that means Germany's main policies, especially at a European level, are unlikely to change going ahead.

Georg Pazderski, a member of the AfD's executive board, told reporters his party would use its predicted role in the new parliament to highlight the cost of the refugee crisis and trouble in the eurozone. The Left are hovering around 9%, but the party most pleased with its current polling is AfD, at about 10% and is nearly certain to win seats in the Bundestag this year for the first time in its short history. Merkel also broadly backed Macron's vision of more coherent financial and economic policymaking in the European Union, which faces Britain's exit in 2019.

"The election will not have any impact on Germany-China relations", said Bernt Berger, a senior fellow and Asia specialist at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) think tank in Berlin. Now polling around 8%, and having all-but ruled out a "three-way coalition' with the CDU/CSU and the FDP, it is expected to look to back a SPD-led left-wing bloc coalition or join them in opposition". She has covered politics and society in Europe and beyond for a range of German and English-speaking publications. The two parties have been operating in an unhappy but stable "grand coalition" that allowed the center-right Merkel to champion various liberal initiatives as her own, including her controversial 2015 move to welcome hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants into Germany. Depending on which poll you look at, 36% to 40% of Germans plan to back this image of a person with few clear policies. Some FDP views are also close to those of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the CDU's sister party in Bavaria. Since the end of World War II, the CDU has been in power most of the time, and Merkel is hoping to ride that wave of popularity. In taking this initiative, she has taken leadership on the issue away from the USA, presenting Germany as an interlocutor more acceptable to North Korea than the United States is.

Often described as Germany's center-left party, the SPD is the main opposition party. Her party is far ahead of the rival SPD, polling at around 38 per cent, compared to the SPD's 22 per cent. Merkel won't win outright, she will have to form a coalition.

Barring a few boisterous protests, election campaigning has been a civilized, even tedious, affair, with chancellor Angela Merkel neatly neutralizing her opponents on the road to what now looks like a guaranteed fourth term. "The key parties have not played any "China card" and there aren't any protectionist tendencies". On only one occasion has a single party, CDU/CSU, governed by itself, and that was in 1957, before reunification; on all other occasions there has been a coalition, usually involving the right-of-centre FDP.

Merkel also hit the campaign trail yesterday, warning that an SPD-led, leftist coalition without the CDU was an experiment that Germany could not afford.

Rather than a third, humiliating grand coalition with Merkel's CDU, a four-year period in opposition to regroup seems likely.

The Alliance '90/the Greens occupies the liberal-leaning part of the political spectrum.

This is consistent with Tsipras' desire to keep out the International Monetary Fund, seen in Athens as the instigator of the toughest reforms demanded by its international creditors over the past eight years. The Green party comes next, followed by the Left Party. "We must fight against the leaders of the party, but we must not attack their sympathizers", said the SPD candidate. Then there is the SPD's ongoing existential dilemma: reforms from 15 years ago that lifted the economy but decimated its voter base.

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