Mobile Version
Free Internet Press
  Uncensored News For Real People


FIP Year In Review

FIP Month in Review

FIP Archive Search




2014-07-09
R.I.P. William 'Bill' Herbert Kelder - Intellpuke

2013-11-28
Gamers Donate 37,500 Pounds Of Food To Needy

2013-09-30
Statement From The Whitehouse Regarding The Government Shutdown

2013-09-29
An Open Response To 'Organizing for Action'

2013-08-26
Bayou Corne: The Biggest Ongoing Disaster In The U.S. You Have Not Heard Of

2013-04-21
Boston Mayor Hopes Feds 'Throw the Book' at Marathon Bombing Suspect

2013-04-19
Boston Police Closing In On Suspects

2013-04-15
2 Explosions At Boston Marathon. 2 Dead, Many Injured.

2013-01-03
The Press vs Citizens Rights and Privacy - Act 3

2012-12-30
CBS News - Year In Review 2012

Nature.com - 366 Days: 2012 In Review

The Guardian - 2012 In Review: An Interactive Guide To The Year That Was

TruTV - The Biggest Conspiracy Theories of 2012

Colbert Nation: 2012: A Look Back

FIP Year In Review(s?)

2012-12-25
Happy Holidays

2012-12-21
Welcome To A New Era!

2012-12-16
An Open Letter To United Health Care, Medcom, And The Medical Insurance Industry In General

2012-11-17
Whitehouse Petition To Remove "Under God" and "In God" From Currency And The Pledge.

2012-11-15
December 21, 2012

2012-11-11
If Hillary Clinton Ran For President, She Would Probably Be The Best-prepared Candidate In American History

2012-11-10
CIA Director David Petraeus Resigns After FBI Investigation Uncovers Affair With High-Profile Journalist

FIP Format Update

2012-11-07
Thank you for voting.

2012-11-06
Live Election Results

2012-09-30
FIP In Hiatus

2012-09-18
U.S.-Afghan Military Operations Suspended After Attacks

Iran Nuclear Chief Says IAEA Might Be Infiltrated By 'Terrorists And Saboteurs'

Romney Stands By Gaffe

2012-09-17
President Obama Says China Trade Practices Harm American Auto Parts Workers


Commentary: Merkel's Less Than Super Sunday - For Chancellor, Tortuous Months Lie Ahead
2012-05-07 03:16:39 (128 weeks ago)
Posted By: Intellpuke
Intellpuke: The following commentary was written by Spiegel Online's Berlin Bureau Chief and head of German news magazine's Politics Desk Roland Nelles. It was posted on Spiegel Online's edition for Sunday, May 6, 2012.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel can't be pleased about François Hollande's election victory, but it will at least be bearable for her. The new-found self-confidence of her junior coalition partner, the FDP, which scored a surprise success in the state election of Schleswig-Holstein on Sunday, poses a greater threat to the chancellor.

Sunday's elections showed how this much-maligned Europe is becoming more politically integrated. In former times, Germans called it a "Super Sunday" when three regional elections were being held on the same day. On Sunday, though, the term applied to votes held simultaneously in France, Greece and the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein. The outcome of the French presidential election has the potential to determine the future of the entire continent. And the Greek vote could well decide what will happen to the euro. And Schleswig-Holstein will shape the fate of Philipp Rösler, the leader of the ailing pro-business FDP, Chancellor Angela Merkel's ailing junior coalition partner.

From Germany's point of view, the impact of the victory of Socialist François Hollande in the French presidential election shouldn't be exaggerated. The hyperactive Nicolas Sarkozy made grand promises when he entered into office but didn't deliver much. At the moment, Germany is calling the shots in Europe while France is fighting to prevent its own economic decline. The French election wasn't a vote against Germany but a vote for France. The French want a president who can negotiate on equal terms with Angela Merkel. That's perfectly understandable.

Hollande promised the French he will do this. Of course he will be a difficult negotiating partner for Angela Merkel, but he will learn that she can be difficult too. He wants economic stimulus programs, she wants budget discipline. If they're clever, they'll reach a compromise that will allow both of them to save face in front of their respective domestic audiences. In the long run, neither can possibly have an interest in blocking the other.

There Will Be Some Awkward Moments With Hollande

It's clear that there is no alternative to austerity. Angela Merkel's most important allies, the ratings agencies, would immediately and mercilessly punish countries that run up excessive new debts. For Merkel, Hollande's election victory isn't good news, but it is bearable. She backed Sarkozy in the campaign, and there will be some embarrassing moments when she meets Hollande the first few times. But that will be it.

(story continues below)




Everything is tied together: Europe, the euro crisis, those are the dominant issues, for German voters as well. Most Germans think Merkel has a grip on the euro crisis. Many of them appear unperturbed by the fact that her government doesn't seem able to agree on or implement any significant domestic policies.

Indeed, Merkel is riding high in opinion polls. That is helping her party, the conservative Christian Democratic Union. In Sunday's vote in Schleswig-Holstein, the CDU managed to stay above the 30 percent level. The rival Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens made gains, but they're not really stronger. That means Merkel and her CDU can hope to remain the strongest political force after the 2013 general election, and to win a third term, as head of a coalition with the FDP, or the SPD, as junior partner.

FDP Will Become Inflated By Its New-Found Success

Will 2013 really be that easy for Merkel? She faces two risks. The biggest at present is the FDP. The party is making discreet overtures to the SPD and Greens about possibly governing together in the future, which heralds a possible shift in the balance of power in German politics. It could make sense for the FDP to wrest themselves free of the captive embrace of the CDU, their natural coalition partner for the last three decades. Merkel should be alarmed at the fact that this new coalition model is now being talked about quite openly.

The FDP could abandon their role as kingmakers to the CDU and start preventing CDU-led coalitions in future. The CDU for its part could start to woo the Greens as possible partners, but neither the CDU nor the Greens are ready for that.

The coming months will be torturous for Merkel's coalition. If the FDP follows up its surprisingly strong result in Schleswig-Holstein with a good showing in the North Rhine-Westphalia state election on May 13, it will become so inflated by its success that it will try to force Merkel to make concessions on important domestic issues -- and threaten the chancellor with a break of the coalition if she doesn't oblige.

The second big risk for Merkel is the economy. Voters like her because the economy is doing well. As long as wages keep rising and unemployment falls, the euro crisis will continue to seem far away. But if the economy slows down, many will start to ask whether the government really has everything under control. That will be the opposition's hour. It always has been -- in Germany, in France, in Europe. François Hollande has proven that once again.

Intellpuke: You can read this commentary by Spiegel Online's Berlin Bureau Chief and head of the German news magazine's Politics Desk Rolland Nelles in context here: www.spiegel.de/international/europe/french-greek-and-schleswig-holstein-elections-show-risks-ahead-for-merkel-a-831671.html

Email To A Friend
Email this story to a friend:
Your Name:
Their Email:
 
Readers Comments
Add your own comment.
(Anonymous commenting now enabled.)

Creative Commons License
Free Internet Press is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. You may reuse or distribute original works on this site, with attribution per the above license.

Any mirrored or quoted materials may be copyright their respective authors, publications, or outlets, as shown on their publication, indicated by the link in the news story. Such works are used under the fair use doctrine of United States copyright law. Should any materials be found overused or objectionable to the copyright holder, notification should be sent to editor@freeinternetpress.com, and the work will be removed and replaced with such notification.

Please email editor@freeinternetpress.com with any questions.

Our Privacy Policy can be viewed at https://freeinternetpress.com/privacy_policy.php

XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication: http://freeinternetpress.com/rss.php

XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication XML News Sitemap