There have been few greater than Germany’s Angela Merkel. She’s been the Chancellor for a bit above a decade and was voted TIME’s most influential woman in 2015. Her career has been nothing but successful, and her tactic has often been compared to none other than Britain’s Margaret Thatcher. Few have remained in office as long as she has (amongst these is our own Dom Mintoff). Even though such a sturdy reputation precedes her, Merkel is struggling to get enough votes for reelection in 2017. The once untouchable Chancellor now faces tough competition.
How low will she go?
The country’s left has resurged after the centre-left Social Democrat Frank Walter Steinmeier has asked the Germans to be bold in such unstable times. He is wildly considered to be charismatic and knows the game very well. Steinmeier served in Merkel’s coalition government as a foreign minister for seven years now. After winning the presidency with a 74% approval rating from the assembly, he is likely to be an asset to his party the upcoming elections.
Although the position he currently holds is often considered to be mostly ceremonial, he nonetheless holds influence. Schulz is one lucky guy. It is imperative to note that Merkel is still under fire for her decisions back in 2015. Domestic political-backlash continues to follow her into 2017. Her decisions to take in one million migrants did not go down well with far-right parties.
Indeed, the Alternative For Germany once promoted anti-euro sentiment, but has now moved into familiar territories. They now represent the anti-migrant and anti-Muslim platform in Germany. And, it is to no one’s surprise that they admire Trump for his politics. And, nevertheless, Trump’s candidacy is undeniably undermining Merkel’s chances — especially from a geopolitical aspect.
The not-so-new-kid on the block, Martin Schulz, is a prominent rival. The former president of the European Parliament of five years is popular amongst voters. An augmentation in approval ratings has been seen these past few days. The centre-left, subsequently, has garnered a more fervent following than before.
He’s presently more popular than Merkel. The conservative bloc is nevertheless intimidated. This led the distinguished finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble to retaliate in a rather childish way. Schulz, allegedly, endorses populist-style propaganda; his mass-meetings are characterised by citizens shouting to “Make Europe great again”. Evidently, this has nothing to do with the ill-delivered political actions of the infamous Donald Trump. Schulz is a respectable politician.
Firstly, Union dynamics are different to that of the Americans. Without deviating from the point, this slogan of his does not aim to peg Europe as ‘anti-immigrant’ or ‘populist’. Germany is an essential member of the Union. You can see why Schulz would relate his country to it. Schulz’s aim is to promote European values, a refreshing turn of events, especially with the contemporary rise of anti-EU sentiment. If Merkel condones such weak and pointless statements from her own Ministers, chances for re-election are, well, very slim.