Merkel to stand again
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is looking equal Helmut Kohl’s record. Source: Flickr
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will stand for re-election next year in a move that is likely to be welcomed internationally following the destabilising success of Brexit and Donald Trump.
Merkel, 62, who has governed since 2005, is seeking another full four-year mandate to tie the post-war record set by her mentor Helmut Kohl. Without an obvious successor in her party, Merkel represented “stability and reliability in turbulent times because she holds society together and stands up to oversimplification” of populist parties, the Christian Democrats
(CDU) deputy leader Julia Klöckner told Welt am Sonntag. “She stands for moderation and centrism instead of cheap headlines.”
Over the weekend a draft manifesto containing key pledges for a fourth term was widely disseminated to newspapers.
The document, “Orientation in Difficult Times for a Successful Europe”, contains proposals that have been viewed as a shift to the right in an attempt to win back support from alienated voters. It includes a ban on wearing the full veil in public court hearings, benefits cuts to migrants who “refuse to integrate” and outlawing teen marriages. “Anyone who refuses to integrate and disregards our rule of law and values must face sanctions, down to benefit cuts and deportation,” it read.
The manifesto draft said it hoped to attract those “who see themselves as losers of modernisation and seek shelter in populist parties on both the right and the left”.
The pastor’s daughter who grew up in communist-run East Germany is widely seen as a safe pair of hands. But her decision to allow more than 1 million migrants to enter Germany over the last two years led to the growing popularity of the right-wing, populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has harnessed anxiety about migration, globalisation and the EU.
But dramatic changes in global politics could drive traditionally risk-averse German voters back to Merkel. “Society’s need for predictability and stability could become so overpowering in the 2017 election year that even the creeping erosion of Merkel’s chancellorship won’t compromise her success at the polls in the end,” the weekly Die Zeit said.
About 55 per cent of the electorate wants Merkel to stay in office, up from 42 per cent in August, according to a poll for Bild am Sonntag, although polling is less trusted after a string of high-profile failures.
The general election is expected in September or October next year.