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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Merkel

I don’t know if you have been following the German elections as closely as you ought recently, but the cricket season is closed now so there is little excuse for continued ignorance. Generous soul that she is, Fräulein Merci H has written for me several emails over the last month each one expanding upon the horror story that is the German leadership struggle.

In the elections last month Angela Merkel’s Christlich-Demokratische Union and their Bavarian allies the Christlich-Soziale Union one only three seats more than Schroeder’s Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (I don’t know who would win if a German played a Welshman at Scrabble, but I think it would be as close to ‘extreme sport’ as board games could ever get).

This three seat lead is not near enough to form a government and neither side has been able to employ the sort of dishonourable coalition-forming small party co-opting shenanigans which ensconced Labour and the Lib-Dems in the Scottish parliament. Aye, we could learn a thing or two here.

In an attempt to settle this there have been conferences between the two parties – essentially one side says ‘Oh please, I’ll be your friend…’ and t’other says ‘Nien’.
There was floated the idea of a coalition of the two big parties forming a collation between themselves but neither side finds that very palatable and who can blame them. The SPD particularly dislike it, as they would certainly get the short end of the stick should it happen.

The CDU is laying down the law, saying that they have the majority of seats in the Bundestag (however narrow that majority is) and that they have the right to decide the next Chancellor (Merkel, our heroin). The danger is that with such a narrow majority Merkel will have to fight every issue and can hardly claim a mandate from the equivocal people. Nevertheless the issue must be decided by the eighteenth, when the new Chancellor will be elected.

Merkel’s popularity waned throughout September, but now appears to be back on the rise, largely due to the statesmanlike way she is handling this furore according to Fräulein H – who goes on to say that she finds it baffling that anyone can still support Schroeder after proving his incompetence so manifestly.

The alchemist waits with bated breath, as I’m sure do you.
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