Posted on Sep 25, 2017
Angela Merkel has been undermined and weakened by the worst result for her party since 1949, and is facing a more fractious political landscape at home, reports Reuters. She could now be forced to rein in her plans to re-shape Europe together with France’s Emmanuel Macron.
Merkel’s conservatives won more support than any other party in the German election on Sunday, according to projections, ensuring that she will return for a fourth term as chancellor.
However, her party appeared to be on track for its poorest showing since the first German election after World War Two and its only path to power may be through a coalition with the ecologist Greens and liberal Free Democrats (FDP), fierce critics of Macron’s ideas for Europe.
The biggest winners in the poll, who over the next four years Merkel, and the EU as a whole, will have to learn to deal with, are the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a eurosceptic, anti-immigration party that rode a wave of public anger after her decision to open Germany’s borders to hundreds of thousands of migrants in 2015.
The AfD was on track to win over 13%, a higher level of support than predicted by pollsters. They will become the first far-right party to enter the German parliament since the 1950s.
(This was predicted by EU Today correspondent Ralph T. Niemeyer in a recent Op-Ed)
Merkel, for the first time in her 12 years in power will wake up now to a completely different political landscape.
“In my mind, reform of the euro zone is the single most important foreign policy issue that the new government has in front of it,” said Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, who runs the Berlin office of the German Marshall Fund.
But he predicted that a coalition between Merkel’s conservatives, the FDP and the Greens would struggle to deliver.
Whereas the Greens said on Sunday night that a “stronger Europe” was a priority for the party, the FDP is averse to further steps to integrate policies at European level.
“It would be the party of no, the party of yes and an incrementalist chancellor. Those are not ideal conditions for a Franco-German grand bargain,” he said.
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