This is not the end of the Merkel era


Angela Merkel has been Chancellor of Germany for 12 years a day, and many observers predict that this anniversary could be the last. The murmurs on the "beginning of the end" of the German chancellor and a "world without Merkel" gained volume this week after the collapse of Germany's coalition talks to form its next government, after the unexpected departure of Free Democrats pro-business ( FDP) of the negotiations The crisis has led to speculation about whether this setback will lead to an unfavorable minority government or new elections, and whether Merkel can finally survive.

It occurs just two months after Germany's last general election, during which Merkel's Democratic Christian Union (CDU) party , with his Bavarian Christian Social Union (Brother Party of the CSU), he could not win enough parliamentary seats to form a government on his own. Given the refusal of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) to revive their "grand coalition" and their party's refusal to enter into a coalition with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the chancellor had no choice but to try to form a tripartite coalition with two smaller parties, the FDP and the Greens. This so-called "Jamaica" coalition (which derives its name because the colors of the parties involved correspond collectively with the Jamaican flag) "could have achieved a lot," Merkel said in the days following the FDP's decision to abandon the talks. [19659005] When asked if he was going to resign, he noted that he had campaigned with the promise to serve Germany for another term and that "there is no reason to return to fulfill that promise". When asked if she was afraid of what would happen if the Germans returned to the polls for a repeated election, she said: "Actually, I'm not afraid of anything."

Fear is not a feeling that many would attribute to [Muttahidae] Mutti or "Mother", like Merkel. It is affectionately known. "She is a great survivor, she is a great problem solver," Quentin Peel, an badociate member of the Europe Program at Chatham House, told me and the former chief correspondent of the Financial Times in 19459020 in Berlin. "She's not a great visionary, but she's very stable." In fact, it was Merkel's reputation as a "pair of safe hands" for Germany in times of global political instability that many cited as they explained their electoral victory in the fourth term in the September elections in the country. But with the composition of the country's next government suddenly in limbo, there are growing doubts about whether Merkel's hands are so secure after all.

The most alarmist of these doubts are exaggerated, according to Peel, who noted that while Merkel "is clearly reeling and … clearly weakened," she is still far from being replaced at the head of the German leadership, in part because she lacks a clear successor within his party, but also because it remains extremely popular among the German population. "She survived as a champion of her party, as long as she was the winner," Peel said, noting that more than half of the Germans would prefer Merkel to remain chancellor. "The moment it seems that it is no longer a winner, the rebels will begin to murmur." And that's where you get this murmur from, I think. But they do not have an alternative candidate. "

Merkel's confidence that she will not resign suggests that she knows it, but it could also be due to the fact that she has endured much worse crises." It's definitely a challenge and this has weakened her as a leader, but it is not as big as the refugee crisis, "Marcel Dirsus, a political scientist at the University of Kiel, told me, referring to Merkel's decision to open the borders of Germany in 2015 to hundreds of thousands of refugees. That movement provoked similar predictions of his political demise: "When the refugee crisis unfolded, there was a legitimate fear … that Merkel was going to fall."

The Eurozone crisis also caused forecasts of pessimism for the future of the chancellor: "It was the most complicated, the longest and the most difficult," Peel said of the multi-year debt crisis that implied several European states. "At the end of the day, she, with the enormous help from Mario Draghi in the European Central Bank, stabilized the markets (…) at the expense of the reaction of austerity and others. But, nevertheless, she was a great stabilizing factor. "

If Germany took the drastic step of holding another round of elections, there is no indication that it will lead to Merkel's downfall. As a result, the same divisions delivered in the first elections, a result that would force the parties to return to the coalition talks they started in. Dirsus said that this could be avoided if the SPD withdrew its refusal to join the government for another grand coalition, a As party leader Martin Schulz has ruled out so far, "Now there is a lot of pressure on the Social Democrats to at least start coalition talks with Merkel because people remind them of their responsibilities to the country," Dirsus said, adding that " there is no guarantee that [Schulz] would be the candidate again if there are new elections, so he really has no interest in new elections. "

Although it is not known where Merkel will go after Jamaica, or how long her time as chancellor will last, it is unlikely that this will happen, the current political crisis will end, at least not soon." We are seeing that the era of Merkel is coming to an end, but I would be surprised if it has not yet come to an end, "Peel said." I would hope that she was still the chancellor of one more government, possibly shorter than before. "

" Right now ", said Dirsus," will go on. "

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