Will the End of Merkel Mean the End of Merkelism?
In the aftermath of World War II, with Germany decisively defeated and -- more important -- having acknowledged the fact through its unconditional surrender to the Allies and the execution of many of its leaders, the militaristic spirit of a people who had even terrified the Romans was quenched. The Germans in the west put their energies into the Wirtschaftswunder, the "economic miracle" that allowed them to rebuild their half of the demolished country, while those in the east did their best to both implement (impossible) and survive Communism. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the reunited country has emerged as the economic powerhouse of Europe and the big dog of the European Union.
But now it appears that the essentially unbroken string of center-right/center-left postwar governments is coming apart. Frau Merkel's beating at the polls yesterday signifies the end of the political consensus and the opening of a Left-Right rift that likely will only worsen over the coming months. Please make allowances for the blatantly biased tone of this Reuters report:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Monday to restore trust in her government after her conservative allies suffered heavy losses in a regional election, which their far-right foes hailed as “an earthquake” that would rock the ruling coalition.
The Christian Social Union (CSU), the sister party of Merkel’s own Christian Democrats (CDU), slumped to its worst result in almost 70 years in Sunday’s election in Bavaria. The chancellor’s other coalition partner, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), saw its support halved.
In other words, Merkel's unwieldly coalition between CDU/CSU and the SPD -- the two main German political parties -- is crumbling, with support now flocking to the extremes: to the AfD (an anti-immigration party) and the Greens.
CSU leader Horst Seehofer, who is also interior minister in Merkel’s loveless coalition, had hoped his anti-immigration rhetoric and criticism of Merkel’s liberal asylum policies would help his party fend off a threat from the far-right in Bavaria. His strategy backfired as the CSU, which has ruled Bavaria for almost six decades, bled votes to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and the ecologist Greens in equal measure. On Monday, he appeared to extend an olive branch.
Gotta love that "ecologist" description of what is basically a small-c communist party. Whereas "far-right" is now the all-purpose description both on the Continent and here in America, of anyone opposed to the Leftist project, or any accommodation with it.
“We will do our bit to ensure that the coalition can continue to do its work in a stable manner despite some of the comments that were made yesterday,” Seehofer told reporters. He was referring to angry CSU delegates who blamed their party’s dismal showing on Merkel’s decision in 2015 to welcome some one million, mainly Muslim, asylum seekers, which has fuelled the rise of the AfD.