Sunday, October 24, 2021

Teflon leader: Merkel’s image will not be tarnished by party’s big loss

BERLIN (WNN) — Angela Merkel will step down in the coming months with her popularity among voters and a widely admired chancellor beyond Germany, having tactfully steered her country and Europe through several crises.

On the other hand, his centre-right political faction is in a shambles.

The Christian Social Union, once the dominant Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian sister party, suffered its worst ever national election result on Sunday. Union Bloc garnered less than a quarter of the vote and could find itself back in the opposition role after 16 years in power.

The blame has mainly been placed on her party’s apathetic candidate, Armin Lashet, a state governor whose gaffes and cheeky demeanor contrasted with Merkel’s image as a quiet, professional politician.

But observers say the long-serving leader bears at least some responsibility for her party’s so far dire crisis.

“Merkel has in recent years focused on governing and neglected her party’s work,” said Klaus Stuwe, a political scientist at the Catholic University of Eichstadt-Ingolstadt.

After stepping down as party leader in 2018, Merkel largely backed down while Christian Democrats went through a series of painful leadership contests. The turmoil detracted from its efforts to craft a coherent party program – which over the years had focused largely on Merkel’s personality – and many voters lost faith in its potential in key areas such as foreign and economic policy.

Even after Lechet won the Union Bloc nomination in a heated contest in AprilMerkel remained separate. This made some in his party wonder whether they cared what happened after he left. In what could have been a serious political decision for the younger politicians to take over the reins as the 67-year-old was transformed into the elder statesman, who apparently backed down leaving a huge void. It is also not known how Merkel felt about Lachette as a future heir.

“For a long time, he did not campaign for Laschet at all, only supporting him at the very end before the Bundestag election, when it was already too late,” said Stuyve.

After the party’s disappointing election results were apparent late on Sunday, Laschet said “nobody had any current bonuses in this election” – an admission he had failed to gain from Merkel’s worldwide stature.

Union Bloc still looking for chance to lead next government With two smaller parties – the environmentalist Greens and pro-business Free Democrats – but its second-place finish in Sunday’s election behind the centre-left Social Democrats is very difficult.

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Some members of the party have suggested that it may be better to go for the renewal period.

“Of course we are ready to negotiate,” said Bavarian governor Marcus Soeder, who heads the Christian Social Union and was beaten by Lachette for being the bloc’s chancellor candidate.

But Soeder clarified that his faction within the union bloc is also ready to go to the opposition, adding: “We will not try to bring the government together at any cost.”

Her party’s poor result is unlikely to dampen Merkel’s favorable views of most voters as she remains as an acting chancellor – possibly for several months – while Germany’s coalition talks go on.said Julia Reushenbach, a political scientist at the University of Bonn.

“As long as a new government is formed, it will likely remain the seasoned, seasoned politician who now needs to lead the country through a transition period,” Rauschenbach said.

In some ways Merkel’s politics would go beyond her reign.

Olaf Scholz, who led the Social Democrats to a narrow victory, successfully embraced Merkel’s calm, factual style during her campaign. Experts say his strong commitment to European integration and a trans-Atlantic alliance with the United States will also remain under Scholz or Laskett.

“In domestic policy, his successor must prove himself above all as a mediator between the three coalition parties,” said Frank Bretschneider, a specialist in communication theory at Hohenheim University.

In doing so, Germany’s next chancellor may need to address one of the biggest criticisms of Merkel’s step-by-step approach to politics: it fails to keep pace with the big changes taking place in the country and beyond. have failed.

While some viewed Merkel as an anchor of stability, especially in turbulent times, others saw her as a source of stability.

Much-needed reforms – from the digitization of schools and government services to greening Germany’s heavy industry – were hardly attempted under Merkel. and despite persistent, vociferous opposition To hasten Germany’s response to climate change, she made sure the country’s mighty auto industry was shielded with tough measures.

Political scientist Stuve said, “During Trump’s presidency, she was a projection screen for many of the more liberal and cosmopolitan, yet at its core conservative, approach to politics.”

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