Print Edition - 2018-01-14 | World
Merkel risks leading weak coalition for Germany
Jan 14, 2018-
Germany’s veteran chancellor Angela Merkel, often called the world’s most powerful woman, will embark on a fourth term with diminished influence and little vision for shaping Europe’s future, analysts say.
After wrapping up more than 24 hours of talks on Friday between her conservatives and the Social Democrats on forming a new “grand coalition” government, Merkel insisted the preliminary deal would break the deadlock in Germany and pave the way to a “fresh start” for Europe.
But before the ink was even dry on the roadmap for her new administration, observers branded Merkel and the team she’s likely to lead a “losers’” coalition with little ambition or power to tackle the major challenges facing the country and the continent.
“In fact this ‘grand coalition’ is only a mini-coalition with just 53 percent” of seats in parliament following the September election that saw both parties cede millions of voters to the far-right, anti-immigration AfD party, political scientist Karl-Rudolf Korte of Duisburg-Essen University said.
This compares with the lavish, nearly 80-percent majority the parties enjoyed during Merkel’s previous term, he told public broadcaster ZDF.
Merkel insisted the accord with the Social Democrats, which must still be approved by the party’s rank and file, would ensure Germany’s enduring stability and prosperity.
“We will work earnestly, today and during the next term, to create the conditions so that we can also live well in Germany in the next 10 years and 15 years,” she told reporters, flanked by SPD leader Martin Schulz and the head of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union, Horst Seehofer.
However influential news magazine Der Spiegel branded the alliance led by Merkel, who has been in power since 2005, a “paleo-coalition” of political dinosaurs bereft of fresh blood to propel renewal.
While France’s young president Emmanuel Macron said he was “happy” about progress in ending Germany’s four-month-long political limbo, critics at home savaged the tired-looking troupe.
Published: 14-01-2018 10:32