Leonid Bershidsky: ‘It’s not just Merkel – Germany’s political crisis mirrors those in many EU countries’

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Leonid Bershidsky: ‘It’s not just Merkel – Germany’s political crisis mirrors those in many EU countries’


End of an era: Angela Merkel won’t be running for CDU leadership again in December. Photo: Reuters
End of an era: Angela Merkel won’t be running for CDU leadership again in December. Photo: Reuters

Politics watchers in Berlin describe this as a “Goetterinnendaemmerung”, the twilight of the goddesses: after a second painful state election result for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party this month, Chancellor Angela Merkel decided against running for the CDU leadership again in December. While that’s not the same as giving up her government post quite yet, it’s the official signal that the Merkel era is ending.

Any successor is going to be sailing in stormy waters. The outcome of last Sunday’s election in Hesse, the German state that includes the country’s financial capital Frankfurt, signalled that the political dispersion which has led to lengthy government formation talks and shaky cabinets in many European countries is the new norm in Germany, too.

In Hesse, Merkel’s CDU achieved its worst result in 50 years (27pc of the vote) and its federal coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), its worst result ever (19.8pc). This probably won’t lead to any momentous changes in the state itself.

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