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In Germany, Merkel begins a fourth term in pain

Ⓒ AFP – Tobias SCHWARZ – | German Chancellor Angela Merkel, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (L) and German Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer, after the signing of a coalition agreement with the Social Democrats on March 12, 2018 in Berlin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will finally be reappointed Wednesday, a fourth term that she attack weakened and six months behind the populist challenges and reform of the EU.

The deputies elected on September 24 must elect him Chancellor early in the morning. Then she will take an oath, before a first council of ministers of this government rejuvenated and almost parity around 17:00 (16:00 GMT).

The ceremony will mark the end of a long quest for majority. In the end, it is the outgoing and unpopular coalition of conservatives (CDU / CSU) and social democrats (SPD) which is renewed. Never since the establishment of democracy has Germany needed so much time to find a government.

Merkel will also lead a country deeply upset by the historic rise of the extreme right, the Alternative for Germany (AFD) is since the legislative the first opposition force of the country with 92 deputies. This movement has capitalized on the disappointed of the Chancellor’s centrism and those outraged by its decision in 2015 to open the country to hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers.

– ‘Clarity’ in Europe –

Ⓒ AFP – Jonathan STOREY – | Angela Merkel

For many observers, she therefore probably attacks her last term at age 63. And some even predict an early end, Ms. Merkel has been abused in recent years to his conservative ranks. The SPD has meanwhile planned a progress report of the coalition in 18 months.

“It is quite possible that this coalition does not take four years”, summarizes under the cover of anonymity a close to the Chancellor.

Finance Minister and Social Democrat Minister Olaf Scholz acknowledged that the government was not the result of “a marriage of love”. But he promised that the allies were “in a position to work together and govern properly”.

In Europe, one hopes in any case that the first economic power of the continent will be quickly in order of battle. Angela Merkel must indeed reassure its partners on its ability to act while the European Union (EU) is shaken by Brexit, the withdrawal of some members and the growing popularity of anti-system parties.

EU reform is at the top of the roadmap for the new German executive. Angela Merkel, flanked by the new Foreign Minister, Social Democrat Heiko Maas, has promised to rush to give Germany a “strong voice” in Europe.

In the coming days, she will go to Paris to discuss with French President Emmanuel Macron his proposals for EU reform, including the setting up of a budget in the euro area, greeted with little enthusiasm by Berlin.

– Challenges of the 21st –

“We will certainly not detail every facet of the next 20 years of the euro area, but we will be able to bring clarity on what is considered the next step,” promised Merkel Monday, before the Council March 22nd and 23rd.

In Germany, the reassuring stability long embodied by this pastor’s daughter eventually turned against her in part. For some, it has endangered the country by opening it to Muslim asylum seekers, for others it embodies stagnation in a changing world.

Faced with the growing threat of the AfD, Angela Merkel had to give pledges to the right wing of her party, promising to cap migrant arrivals and giving the government a seat to its main criticism of the CDU the ambitious Jens Spahn.

Finally, his government promised to be that of the “little people” and not the elite, according to the Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer.

In particular, it will have to accompany a population that is losing its bearings in globalization and the accelerated digitization of the economy, factors in the rise of extremes in the West.

“When we look at the election of (Donald) Trump, the Brexit, the successes of far-right parties in Europe (…) we see the urgency of finding new answers to the challenges of the twenty-first century”, insisted Mr. Scholz.

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