Armin laschet

Who will succeed Merkel?

The results of the German election have shifted somewhat since last night’s exit poll. What we know for sure is that a red-red-green coalition — between the centre-left SPD, far-left Die Linke and the Greens — is short of a majority, which is contrary to what every single opinion poll projected in the last few weeks That is the single biggest news from the German elections. It deprives SPD leader Olaf Scholz of what he would have needed to force the free-market liberals of the FDP and Greens into a coalition, also known as the traffic light coalition. A coalition involving Die Linke could have been leveraged to sharpen minds,

Could a left-wing coalition end up running Germany?

A spectre is haunting Germany — the spectre of the left. As Merkel’s Christian Democrats fall further behind in the closing weeks of the federal elections, there is now a real possibility of a left-wing coalition forming that might include the far-left party Die Linke. ‘They will never commit to Nato,’ barked Armin Laschet, leader of Merkel’s CDU and her would-be successor in a televised debate with his rivals last Sunday. He demanded to know if Olaf Scholz, chancellor candidate for the social democratic SPD, and the Greens’ Annalena Baerbock would rule out a coalition with Die Linke. Neither did. To Armin Laschet and many in his conservative camp, the

Why Merkel’s successor could be a disaster for Germany

‘The die is cast,’ said Markus Söder in a press conference yesterday as he stepped back to allow his rival Armin Laschet to run as the chancellor candidate for the conservatives in Germany’s upcoming election. This ominous phrase was carefully chosen by a man who thought a disastrously wrong decision had been made by the CDU elite. Söder was by far the most popular chancellor candidate, and had a 20 point lead over his conservative competitor in the polls. Söder, the minister-president of Bavaria, won his own state and the wider German public over with his straight-talking and decisive action during the pandemic. With the charismatic Bavarian at the helm,

Why Merkel’s party is backing a political lightweight to replace her

The run-up to the German federal elections in September was supposed to be dull and predictable. Merkel would name a successor and the German public would grudgingly vote for the chosen one as there was nowhere else to go. If this predictable drudge meant disaffecting voters further and losing another couple of percentage points here or there, so be it. The German conservatives would still come out as the strongest party and select its partners for a coalition, just as Merkel has done for the last four terms in office. But things have changed. The gravity of Merkel’s own personality was what held many votes tied to a party that