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Merkel’s government headache ahead of elections

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – Tobias SCHWARZ – | German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Social Democratic rival Martin Schulz

Angela Merkel seems confident of replacing for a fourth term as chancellor after the elections on Sunday. But the uncertainty is total on its future partners in the government and on the future course of Germany.

The polls all predict a comfortable victory for the conservative leader, in power since 2005, even if his party breaks in the final straight against the surge of extremes.

The Insa institute credited Tuesday its 36% Christian Democrat camp, far ahead of the Social Democrats Martin Schulz (22%), whose campaign on the subject of social justice does not mobilize in a country close to full- employment.

If they stay there, the German Conservatives will nevertheless be close to the level of their defeat in 1998 (35.1%) and forced to seek one or more allies. This is enough to tarnish the success of Angela Merkel. And complicate its task to form a majority coalition in the coming weeks.

“I say to everyone that this election is not yet decided,” she warned Tuesday on the RTL channel, obviously concerned about the slight decline of its movement in the investigations, “every voice counts.”

– Extremes on the rise –

Ⓒ AFP – smi – | German elections: voting intentions

The Chamber of Deputies promises to be crumbling, with no fewer than six parties called to be represented there, unprecedented since 1990. Starting with the extreme, the radical left and especially the nationalist and anti-migrant right of the Alternative Germany (AfD), the first party of its kind to enter into force since 1945. Both are credited with at least 10%.

“We do not really know what kind of government we are going to have, political suspense will come after Sunday’s vote,” said Sudha David-Wilp, an analyst at the German Marshall Fund.

Since the AfD and the radical left were excluded from the outset, they remain the option of a renewal of the right-left alliance with the Social Democrats, which rejects a growing share of the SPD’s base, opinion, or an agreement with the last two parties promised to the Bundestag, the Liberals of the FDP and the Greens.

The FDP, resurrected with a clearly right program after being ejected in 2013 from the Bundestag, is a priori a natural ally of the Conservatives, with whom he governed between 2009 and 2013.

Problem: The FDP, credited with 9% of votes, is not in a position to give a majority to Merkel, who could then try to expand the duo to a trio with environmentalists. A constellation that has recently been established at regional level in northern Germany.

This unprecedented alliance at the federal level, however, is difficult to achieve, as the substantive differences between the Greens and FDP, close to the business community, notably on the future of diesel.

– Complicated Alliance –

Another subject of conflict: the Liberals are eyeing the portfolio of Finance of Wolfgang Schäuble, the heavyweight of Angela de Merkel’s party and who does not intend to pass the hand.

More fundamentally, an alliance with the FDP could complicate the eurozone reform projects promoted by French President Emmanuel Macron and which Merkel said was ready to discuss. The FDP is against it because it fears that Germany will pay for the other countries.

Ⓒ AFP – Odd ANDERSEN – | Election posters in the streets of Berlin, 17 September 2017

A headache for the Chancellor who will have to tackle after the election to negotiations “rather difficult and long,” predicted Thorsten Benner, of the Global Public Policy Institute.

The negotiations will take place in a climate that the planned entrance of the Bundestag of the populist right will contribute to tending in the coming months.

The campaign seems to be “purring, but there is also a lot of anger”, in part of the opinion due to the arrival of a record number of migrants or the widening of inequalities, analyzes Benner.

The AfD also seems impervious to polemics, even when one of its leaders, Alexander Gauland, praises soldiers of the army of the Third Reich.

“This is the first time in more than 70 years that we have Nazis in the Reichstag,” said German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

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