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Germany: Merkel promises a stable majority, divided nationalist right

Ⓒ AFP – Tobias SCHWARZ – | Angela Merkel at a press conference in Berlin at the
headquarters of her conservative CDU (Christian Democrats) party,
on 25 September 2017

Victory but weakened by a disappointing electoral score,
Angela Merkel promised to find a stable majority of government
and to recover voters who en masse chose the AfD, a party
drifting towards the extreme right.

“All the parties that we consider to be compatible with a
coalition have a responsibility to allow the emergence of a
stable government,” she said in the aftermath of the
historically low score of 33% of her conservative political
family.

After a meeting of the party’s headquarters, the CDU, she
stressed that she would seek dialogue with the Liberals of the
FDP, Greens and Social Democrats of the SPD.

These talks are very complicated: laminated and at the
lowest since 1945, the SPD (20.5%) announced that they wanted
to re-energize in the opposition after four years of governing
with Merkel.

Ⓒ AFP – Matthias BOLLMEYER – | The German Federal Governments

Only a majority solution remains to be found on the paper:
an unprecedented alliance at the national level bringing
together the CDU-CSU, the Liberals of the FDP, who return to
the Bundestag with 10.7% and the Greens, which reached 8.9%
.

This coalition, known as “Jamaica” – a reference to the
black-yellow-green colors of the three parties – currently
exists only at the regional level in the small Nordic state of
Schleswig-Holstein. And only since the spring.

The problem is that these Greens and Liberals are opposed to
such diverse and strategic issues as immigration, the future of
diesel, European reform, coal exits or taxation. They also each
have substantive disagreements with the Conservatives.

– Conservative grumbling –

Negotiations could take months, especially since the
Constitution does not provide for any time limit for forming a
government. Since the first post-war elections in 1949, the
victorious party has always succeeded in forming a majority.
And the Chancellor excluded a minority government.

Ⓒ AFP – Jochen GEBAUER – | German Legislatures: Distribution of the
vote

It was only after the formalization of a new coalition that
Mrs Merkel could formally be appointed Chancellor for the
fourth time. Otherwise, new elections could be called.

Another challenge, not least of all, is to respond to the
protest within the conservative family, especially the CSU
Bavarians, who have been campaigning for two years for Merkel
to make a right-wing shift, particularly on the issue of
immigration.

As part of the conservative electorate – one million people
according to the polls– joined the Alternative for Germany
(AfD). This anti-Islam, anti-migrant, anti-euro and anti-elite
movement entered for the first time in the Bundestag (12.6% of
the votes) made the rejection of the mass reception of asylum
seekers decided by the chancellor in 2015 its great horse of
battle.

Ⓒ AFP – Matthias BOLLMEYER – | German Legislative: Voice Transfers

“We have left our right flank and it is now up to us to fill
the void with clear positions,” said CSU leader Horst
Seehofer.

“Consternation reigns in the conservative ranks and the main
leader is all designated,” said the left-liberal daily
Süddeutsche Zeitung.

But Merkel refused to do a mea culpa on Monday. If she
admitted she wanted a better score, she notes that the CDU-CSU
comes first 12 points before the SPD, a victory without
appeal.

Its decision in 2015 to open borders to asylum seekers? The
“good”, even if it created “a polarization related to my
person”.

Ⓒ AFP – Matthias BOLLMEYER – | Legislative in Germany

“We will win back voters (parties to the AfD) by making good
policy … by finding solutions to the problems,” she said.

The AfD has built its success by taking as models the
unbridled nationalism and slippages of US President Donald
Trump or supporters of the United Kingdom’s exit from the
European Union.

– The worst of the past –

This success was achieved at the cost of a radicalization of
the discourse of the movement, with revisionist remarks on
Nazism, violent attacks against Angela Merkel, or against
Muslims.

Good news for the Chancellor, the
internal contradictions of the AfD and the divisions around the
line more and more extremist of the party broke open in
Monday.

One of the leaders of Alternative, who until the beginning
of the year was her figurehead, Frauke Petry, created surprise
by announcing that she refused to sit with the AfD in the
Chamber of Deputies.

In particular, she attacked one of the campaign’s two
leaders, Alexander Gauland, who announced just after the
elections that AfD, with its success, was going to lead the
“hunt” to Angela Merkel.

He also recently created controversy by appealing to be
proud of the performance of German soldiers during the Second
World War.

The entry of such a party into the Chamber of Deputies is a
real shock to many Germans, the post-war identity being based
precisely on the struggle against extremes, the search for
compromise and repentance for the crimes of the Third
Reich.

The World Jewish Congress called the AfD a “shameful
reactionary movement that recalls the worst of the past” in
Germany.

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