German election

German voters set for a tense night

The German elections have turned out to be an unexpected nail-biter. Since the exit polls were released earlier this evening the result has been too close to call. Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU and their coalition partners, the SPD, are both predicted to have received 25 per cent of the vote each, which means it will remain unclear throughout the evening who has won as the votes continue to be counted. Despite the close result, the mood in the Christian Democratic camp is subdued. Angela Merkel’s would-be successor Armin Laschet has received the worst result his party has achieved in its history. The exit polls showed that 1.4 million of their voters

Feted abroad, dismissed at home: will Germans really miss Merkel?

As Angela Merkel finally steps down, the verdict on her leadership – at least from overseas – appears to be unanimous: she is a safe pair of hands who will be greatly missed. Her departure is a big loss for Europe. But is that right? Many Germans, it seems, are much less favourable about Mutti. There have been dissenting voices outside Germany to be sure, arguing that her achievements and historical importance have been exaggerated. Her overseas critics point out that she failed to make the most of the considerable authority she acquired and that her interventions in the European Union only made its divisions worse. The inflexibility of Merkel

Why won’t German politicians talk about migration?

For a country with a reputation for being staid and predictable, the election campaign that closes the Merkel era in Germany has not been without its dramas.  The opening of the campaign coincided with a flood disaster in the north-west of the country, which propelled climate change to the top of the agenda. Then favourite and assumed Merkel-successor, Armin Laschet, was undone when he was caught on camera joshing with colleagues amid the human misery. Then, earlier this month, police raided the offices of the finance and justice ministries as part of a money-laundering investigation that could harm the prospects of the current front-runner, the deputy chancellor, finance minister and Social-Democrat contender,