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Merkel’s days as German Chancellor are probably now numbered

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September 26, 2017

The rise of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) dominates the headlines, but the most significant outcome of the German election is that Angela Merkel’s days as Chancellor are probably numbered. This has grave implications for Europe and the wider world.

What’s more, Berlin’s uber stable political system has splintered which means we now enter territory unchartered for a lifetime. Because the swing to the Free Democrats (FDP) and AfD is over fourteen percentage points and almost all these gains are at the expense of the outgoing “grand coalition” of the centrist CDU/CSU and SPD parties. Both of whom have dominated Germany’s democratic parliaments since the Second World War.

For instance, in 1980, the pair controlled 87 percent of the vote in the old Federal Republic, and now they can barely manage a majority, between them, with only 53 percent of preferences. Furthermore, for the first time since 1924, six parties have achieved more than five percent of the vote. And this serves to highlight just how fragmented German politics has become.

Of course, it hardly signals a return to the Weimar days, but the relative chaos exposes how a large number of Germans have become disillusioned with the status quo. The grievances range from growing inequality and rising levels of immigration to a feeling that the political class is out of touch. The latter two concerns are often combined when voters react to Merkel’s unilateral decision to open Germany’s borders to large numbers of migrants in 2015.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 7:48 am

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