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‘Mutti’ Merkel presides over Germany

Chancellor Angela Merkel has created history. She is not only the first woman to hold the office since 2005, she is now also the first woman to be elected back into the office for a third time consecutively. British Paper, the Guardian, pointed out that Merkel is on her way to overtake Margaret Thatcher as the longest-serving female leader.

This year, the Christian Democratic Union’s (CDU) election campaign was based to a large extent on Angela Merkel’s personality and success. As a replication of the motto “Keep calm and carry on,” Merkel’s campaign showed a poster with her hands poised in the shape of a diamond with the words, “Stay calm and vote for the Chancellor.”

Her hands featured on yet another poster which read, “Germany’s future is in good hands.” The Local quoted the CDU party researcher Oskar Niedermayer on the philosophy behind the campaign posters. He said, “The CDU used the hands to represent Merkel as the mother of the nation, taking Germany by the hand and guiding it through crisis.”

‘The ball is in her court’

As her opponent, Social Democrat Peer Steinbrueck, commented on the eve of the election, Merkel has the power to choose. Her party won 41.5 percent of the votes and now the country waits while she negotiates a coalition partner for her next government.

The CDU’s previous ally, the Free Democratic Party, failed to make it to the parliament this year with its 4.8 percent vote. Any party in Germany needs a minimum of five percent votes to gain entry into the Bundestag.

This is the first time since World War II that the liberals were voted out of the parliament. Merkel now has a tough choice. Will she opt for a grand coalition with the Social Democrats who have 25.7 percent of the vote or will she invite the Green Party (8.4 percent) on board?

Europe’s most powerful woman

Merkel is touted as an insensitive dictator in crisis-hit countries like Cyprus, Greece and Spain for her stringent measures to save the euro. Neck-deep in debt with high unemployment rates, southern Europe’s economy has taken a serious hit. In Germany however, the Chancellor is perceived as a calm and stable person who has steered the country cautiously through the euro-crisis.

Merkel has insisted on more than one occasion that Germany will continue to play a leading role in lending support to the Eurozone’s problems. She hopes to keep the Eurozone economy from crumbling apart.

Not afraid of risks or U-turns

Merkel has received harsh criticism in the past on her foreign policy globally. According to a report in Spiegel Online, Germany became one of the largest exporters of military equipment to questionable regimes in 2011 under Merkel’s government. By supplying arms to conflict regions, Merkel hopes to keep the intervention of German troops to the minimum.

She was also an ardent supporter of nuclear energy until the disaster in Japan in 2011. She then announced Germany’s exit from nuclear power by 2022. She is known to sit on decisions and takes her time before announcing one. Merkel has gained a reputation for fixing problems while her feet remain firmly rooted on the ground.

Author: Roma Rajpal-Weiss

Editor: Manasi Gopalakrishnan

Roma Rajpal-Weiss is an Indian Journalist and Blogger based in Bonn. She can be followed on Twitter @romarajpal.


26.09.2013 | 14:59