Germany’s federal elections were supposed to lead to the triumph of Angela Merkel. Their results were rather different from what was anticipated. Merkel’s “victory” looks like a disaster: the Christian Democratic Alliance (CDU-CSU) won 33% of the vote — 9% less than four years ago, its worst result since 1949. The Social Democratic Party (SPD), which governed the country with Merkel during the last four years, lost more than 5%, and fell from 25.7 % to 20% of the vote — the worst result in its history. Alternative for Germany (AfD), a conservative nationalist party born in 2013, obtained 12.6%, and will enter in the Bundestag for the first time. Die Linke, the Marxist left, received 9%. As neither the SPD nor Die Linke will participate in the next government, and as AfD is radically opposed to the policies pursued by Merkel, she has only two possible partners: the libertarian Free Democratic Party and The Greens: both of whose positions on most subjects seem incompatible.
Angela Merkel will remain Chancellor, but by default, and mostly because there was no other real choice: six months ago, two-thirds of the German population wanted her to be replaced. Only 8% wanted her to remain in her post. Martin Schultz, former President of the European Parliament, who was the SPD candidate, did not offer anything different and led a lackluster campaign.
If Merkel succeeds in forming a coalition, it will be a precarious and unstable assemblage that will keep Germany on the verge of paralysis and make the country the sick man of 21st century Europe.
Germany actually already is a sick country, and Angela Merkel is part of the sickness.
In 1945, Germany was in ruins. It rebuilt itself and gradually became Europe’s leading economic power. While regaining strength, it did not assert itself politically and remained discreet, humble, repentant, silently shameful. Because of its role in the war, it was reluctant to recreate an army when NATO powers asked it to rebuild one; instead, it adopted a general position of appeasement that led to “Ostpolitik“, a policy of rapprochement with the communist East and the Soviet Union.
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