Germans are starting to get worried. Yes, their economy is still doing fine and yes the immigration stream has largely subsided, but for the first time in a long time, they’ve been without a government for more than three months now, which is highly unusual for Europe’s biggest country. Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose CDU/CSU party is still the biggest one, can’t seem to form a new coalition government.
Even though the voter showed a serious swing to the right in the September elections and the right-wing Alternative Fur Deutschland (AfD) was with a jump of 2% to 16% the great victor, every major political party refuses to negotiate with them, leaving very few options for coalitions. Merkel either has to govern with a combination of smaller parties (which she tried to negotiate for three months but ultimately failed) or has to cut a deal with the social democrats of Mr Martin Schultz, who want the opposite of what the voter wants.
To make matters worse, the Bavarian part of Ms Merkel’s political party, the CSU, claims that the immigration demands of the right-wing AfD are not necessarily wrong. Though the nationalist view of the AfD is still too extreme for most Germans, the Bavarian (and richest) part of Germany does agree with the immigration cap (200,000 maximum per year) and the forced return of many immigrants.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Is this the beginning of the end for Angela <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Merkel?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Merkel</a>? <a href="https://t.co/6D4LqDzOl0">https://t.co/6D4LqDzOl0</a> <a href="https://t.co/5mTyGOnYnc">pic.twitter.com/5mTyGOnYnc</a></p>— Debating Europe (@debatingeurope) <a href="https://twitter.com/debatingeurope/status/949906459365605376?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 7, 2018</a></blockquote>
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This leaves Ms Merkel with a tough choice. If she wants to please her own party and the voting public, she has to go right. If she wants to form a new government (which many analysts predict will be her last), she has to swing left and thus probably lose votes on her right side again.
And if worst comes to worst, which is what on in three Germans expect at this point, and Ms Merkel and Mr Schulz can’t agree to form a new government, then new elections are the only outcome left.
Opinion polls indicate that even more voters would flock to the AfD then.
Lastly, according to 67 percent of Germans, Merkel is no longer the leader she once was, but they don’t see a better alternative.