Merkel Hangs on as German Chancellor as her Party Loses Ground
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel will remain in her role after the weekend’s election in the next government, but her CDU-CSU (Conservative) Party had the worst election since 1949.
The CDU-CSU saw a dramatic drop to 32 percent Sunday, versus the 38 percent in 2013. Its partner in a “grand coalition,” the Social Democrats saw a drop of 20.4 percent. This is the lowest in Germany since the first elections after World War II.
While Merkel’s party saw massive losses, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party saw an impressive spike in support in Sunday’s elections.
“But with the biggest winner being the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party — more than tripling its support from four percent in ’13 to 13.5 percent Sunday — it must be said that Vladimir Putin also emerged as a big winner in the Germany elections. The AfD has long advocated closer ties between Berlin and Moscow,” writes Newsmax.
Even though the AfD has gained significant support with the German public, Merkel has made it clear that the AfD will play no role in her government.
Although Merkel will remain as Germany’s government leader, the AfD, which gained massive support in reaction to Merkel’s open-door migrant policy, will evidently still have an impact.
“The AfD’s showing and the seats they will hold in the Bundestag [parliament] will make a huge difference in rhetoric and psychology,” said Martin Klingst, senior editor of the German publication Die Ziet to Newsmax.
As the AfD gains support, Merkel’s potential partners disagree on current issues, making her next four years even more difficult.
“Merkel made clear she still intended to serve a full four years as chancellor. But her next coalition could be her toughest yet with her only remaining potential partners, the business-friendly FDP and the pro-regulation Greens, at odds on issues from migrants to tax, the environment and Europe,” writes Reuters. “The FDP’s leader Christian Lindner set the stage for tricky talks, saying his party would not agree to a coalition with the conservatives and the Greens, dubbed “Jamaica” because the parties’ colors mirror the country’s flag, at any price.”
Merkel’s win has also created a major upset in the currency markets.
“German chancellor Angela Merkel’s underwhelming election victory has punctured the euro on currency markets today after her path to power was complicated by the mainstream parties in Europe’s engine room performing poorly in yesterday’s vote,” writes The Telegraph. “Sterling has erased its post-Theresa May speech losses against the euro, rising 0.3pc, as far right party the AfD made a landmark breakthrough at the expense of Merkel’s CDU.”
“The weak result could make Angela Merkel a lame duck much faster than international observers and financial markets think,” said Carsten Brzeski, ING economist.
Most reports deemed Merkel’s win as expected, but disappointing.
“It has been a long and bruising election campaign. Mrs Merkel may have won the election but it does not feel like much of a victory,” writes Reuters. “This election will go down in the history books for two reasons. Angela Merkel may have won a fourth term but it is her worst-ever general election result. And right-wing nationalists are now part of the German establishment.”
Author’s note: Merkel’s past mistakes did not go unnoticed. The influx of migrants made Germany a much more dangerous and chaotic place to live. The damage has already been done and has led to the rise of AfD, which could be her party’s ultimate undoing.