Dean Rohrer

The Fight for Middle Germany

The secret of Angela Merkel’s election victory in Germany was to secure a majority for the center-right in order to pursue, more or less, a center-left policy agenda. While her new coalition will make some policy corrections that serve important constituencies and economic supporters, there will be no clear-cut change in policy direction.

BERLIN – Germany has made its choice. It voted the grand coalition out of office with a bang, consigning the Social Democrats to the political abyss.  Only ruins remain of the once-proud Gerhard Schröder’s SPD. Despite a clear win for the center-right, the Christian Democrats (CDU) did not escape unscathed. But while their losses were moderate, CDU’s Bavarian sister-party, the CSU, experienced a debacle second only to the Social Democrats.

So it looks like SPD hit rock bottom, CSU is in freefall, and CDU the worse for wear. The clear winners are Guido Westerwelle and his Liberal party, followed by the Left, and the Greens – all three of which got their highest vote count ever.

But the reality is a bit more complicated. The clearest winner is Angela Merkel. The chancellor played for high stakes, seemingly against the odds, and hit the jackpot. Unlike her party, she is now stronger than ever. So will we see a new Merkel, a chancellor who, freed from the restraints of SPD in the governing coalition, will be more decisive, reformist, and willing to take political risks?

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in;
  1. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    Angela Merkel’s Endgame?

    The collapse of coalition negotiations has left German Chancellor Angela Merkel facing a stark choice between forming a minority government or calling for a new election. But would a minority government necessarily be as bad as Germans have traditionally thought?

  2. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.

  3. A GrabBike rider uses his mobile phone Bay Ismoyo/Getty Images

    The Platform Economy

    While developed countries in Europe, North America, and Asia are rapidly aging, emerging economies are predominantly youthful. Nigerian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese young people will shape global work trends at an increasingly rapid pace, bringing to bear their experience in dynamic informal markets on a tech-enabled gig economy.

  4. Trump Mario Tama/Getty Images

    Profiles in Discouragement

    One day, the United States will turn the page on Donald Trump. But, as Americans prepare to observe their Thanksgiving holiday, they should reflect that their country's culture and global standing will never recover fully from the wounds that his presidency is inflicting on them.

  5. Mugabe kisses Grace JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

    How Women Shape Coups

    In Zimbabwe, as in all coups, much behind-the-scenes plotting continues to take place in the aftermath of the military's overthrow of President Robert Mugabe. But who the eventual winners and losers are may depend, among other things, on the gender of the plotters.

  6. Oil barrels Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images

    The Abnormality of Oil

    At the 2017 Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, the consensus among industry executives was that oil prices will still be around $60 per barrel in November 2018. But there is evidence to suggest that the uptick in global growth and developments in Saudi Arabia will push the price as high as $80 in the meantime.

  7. Israeli soldier Menahem Kahana/Getty Images

    The Saudi Prince’s Dangerous War Games

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is working hard to consolidate power and establish his country as the Middle East’s only hegemon. But his efforts – which include an attempt to trigger a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon – increasingly look like the work of an immature gambler.