Far Right Fills Gaps Left by Merkel and Rutte

German chancellor Angela Merkel receives Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte in Berlin, May 16
German chancellor Angela Merkel receives Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte in Berlin, May 16 (Bundesregierung)

Mark Rutte has suffered the same fate as his closest ally in Europe, Angela Merkel. Both center-right leaders moved to the middle in a bid for centrist voters only to leave a gap on the right that the far right has filled.

In midterm elections on Wednesday, the Dutch Freedom Party and Forum for Democracy won a combined 21 percent of the votes, their best result to date.

In Germany, support for the Alternative is down a few points in the polls but still at 11-14 percent. Merkel’s Christian Democrats fell from 41.5 to 33 percent between the 2013 and 2017 elections. Read more “Far Right Fills Gaps Left by Merkel and Rutte”

Party Warms to Merkel’s Successor. German Voters Not So Much

Then-Prime Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer of Saarland answers questions from reporters in Berlin, September 19, 2014
Then-Prime Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer of Saarland answers questions from reporters in Berlin, September 19, 2014 (Bundesrat/Henning Schacht)

It was supposed to be a subtle shift to the right.

In anointing the socially conservative former prime minister of Saarland, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, as her successor, Angela Merkel signaled to Germany’s Christian Democrats that after fourteen years of her consensus politics — which even inspired a verb: merkeln — they would return to their right-wing, Christian roots, but without altogether repudiating the centrist strategy that has made the CDU so successful.

The last few weeks have called that balancing act into question. Read more “Party Warms to Merkel’s Successor. German Voters Not So Much”

Germany’s Merkel Installs Favorite as Successor

Prime Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer of Saarland attends a session of the Bundesrat in Berlin, Germany, July 10, 2015
Prime Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer of Saarland attends a session of the Bundesrat in Berlin, Germany, July 10, 2015 (Bundesrat/Henning Schacht)

Angela Merkel has put Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the former prime minister of Saarland, on track to succeed her as chancellor of Germany.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, a relative moderate, defeated the more right-wing Friedrich Merz with 517 to 482 votes at a congress of their Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Hamburg. Read more “Germany’s Merkel Installs Favorite as Successor”

Update from the Election to Succeed Angela Merkel

German Christian Democrat Friedrich Merz
German Christian Democrat Friedrich Merz (CDU/Laurence Chaperon)

Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is electing a new leader in December. Angela Merkel ruled out seeking a fourth term after her allies lost state elections in Bavaria and Hesse.

Merkel is staying on as chancellor for now, but her successor at the helm of the CDU will immediately become the favorite to replace her in that position as well.

Here is a summary of the latest news. Read more “Update from the Election to Succeed Angela Merkel”

Everything You Need to Know About Merkel Stepping Down as Party Leader

Angela Merkel
German chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a news conference in Berlin, November 9, 2016 (Bundesregierung)

German chancellor Angela Merkel has announced she will not seek reelection as leader of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in December in the wake of disappointing state election results in Bavaria and Hessen.

How will this affect the remainder of her chancellorship? Who could replace her? And what, if anything, does it mean for Europe? Read more “Everything You Need to Know About Merkel Stepping Down as Party Leader”

Hessen State Election Confirms National Political Trends

Frankfurt Germany
Frankfurt, Germany at night (Unsplash/Jonas Tebbe)

Germany’s mainstream political parties both lost support in elections in Hessen on Sunday, a lightly populated state in the center of the country that contains the commercial capital of Frankfurt.

The Christian Democrats went down from 38 to 28 percent support, according to exit polls. The Greens, who have shared power with the right in Hessen since 2013, went up from 11 to 20 percent — a major victory, which will probably make it possible for the two parties to continue their coalition government.

The Social Democrats, who govern with the Christian Democrats nationally, suffered yet another historic defeat. Their support fell from 31 to 20 percent, their worst result in Hessen ever. Read more “Hessen State Election Confirms National Political Trends”

Takeaways from the Bavaria State Election

Nuremberg Germany
The skyline of Nuremberg, Germany (Unsplash/Marc Schaefer)

Readers of the Atlantic Sentinel will know by now that most English-language media have a tendency to sensationalize challenges to Angela Merkel’s leadership in Germany. That’s how the collapse of the Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria is being reported as well.

Support for Merkel’s conservative allies, who have governed Bavaria uninterrupted since 1957, fell to an historic low of 37.2 percent in the state election on Sunday.

But it’s not all about the chancellor. Read more “Takeaways from the Bavaria State Election”

Christian Democratic Lawmakers Rebel Against Merkel

German chancellor Angela Merkel addresses parliament in Berlin, September 14, 2012
German chancellor Angela Merkel addresses parliament in Berlin, September 14, 2012 (Bundesregierung/Guido Bergmann)

Christian Democratic (CDU) lawmakers in Germany have rebelled against Chancellor Angela Merkel by picking a relatively unknown as their group leader.

Volker Kauder, a close Merkel ally who had led the CDU in the Bundestag for thirteen years, lost in a secret ballot to Ralph Brinkhaus, his deputy. The vote was 112 to 125.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports that party leaders did not see the revolt coming. Bild calls it a “spectacular defeat” for Merkel. Die Welt argues that her authority has been “badly damaged”. Read more “Christian Democratic Lawmakers Rebel Against Merkel”

How to Interpret the Collapse of Bavaria’s Christian Democrats?

Bavarian prime minister Horst Seehofer speaks with his counterpart from Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, in Berlin, October 10, 2014
Bavarian prime minister Horst Seehofer speaks with his counterpart from Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, in Berlin, October 10, 2014 (Bundesrat/Henning Schacht)

How much of a cautionary tale is the center-right’s collapse in Bavaria?

The Christian Social Union (CSU), which allies with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats nationally, is down from nearly 48 percent support in the last state election to 35-37 percent in recent polls. The far-right Alternative for Germany is up from 4 to 11-13 percent. Read more “How to Interpret the Collapse of Bavaria’s Christian Democrats?”