Markus söder

Support for Merkel’s party is crumbling

On Sunday, Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) suffered a historic election defeat in their former heartlands of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. ‘The state elections struck deep at the heart of the union of the CDU and CSU,’ said Markus Söder, leader of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union. To an increasingly frustrated public, the ruling parties in the capital look tired and devoid of ideas. There is no incentive for Merkel and her cabinet to turn things around. After 16 years in government and on the brink of retirement, she has become a lame-duck chancellor. Some German journalists have even begun to call the whole

Is this the man who will replace Angela Merkel?

Markus Söder is the one to watch in German politics. The ascent of the Bavarian Minister-President and leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union is probably the closest modern Germany has come to Macron-style disruption. The situation is less dramatic than France in 2017 — there is no great disaffection with Chancellor Angela Merkel or with politics in general — but there is a sense that the country needs a shift in direction. Bavaria symbolises that new direction. When I grew up in Germany’s deep west in the 1960s and 1970s, we went to Bavaria on holiday and admired its quaint backwardness. We did not take it very seriously until