Right turn

Germany has lurched to the right with the convincing victory of the Christian Democratic Union-Christian Socialist Union (CDU-CSU) bloc in just-concluded general elections. The 33.8 per cent vote the CDU-CSU bloc won will allow it to drop its former partner in government, the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SDP). The CDU-CSU was in an uneasy coalition with the SDP for the last four years. There was some anxiety in the run-up to elections that they would need the support of the SDP to remain in power. However, the SDP has suffered a drubbing — this was its worst performance since 1949 and the CDU-CSU has performed far better than anticipated. What is more, the pro-business FDP, which is Merkel’s preferred partner, put in a strong showing. The election has been interpreted as a victory for the German right wing. But the far-left too has done well. It is the SDP’s poor performance that has prevented a centre-left government from being formed. The SDP has no one but itself to blame for its weak showing. Its decision to be a junior partner in a CDU-led government over the past four years did not go down well with voters and it was punished for that. It would need to return to its pro-poor positions and reach out to Greens and left parties if it wants to win back support of the working class.

With her new allies in the FDP, Merkel is likely to swing more aggressively to the right in her economic policies. This will satisfy German big business. However, unemployment in Germany stands at over eight per cent and is expected to soar in the coming months. She must bear this in mind as she crafts her economic strategy.
Merkel’s return to the helm in Germany will be greeted with some relief by the US-led coalition in Afghanistan. Her party has supported robust deployment of German troops there in the past. But during the poll campaign, she spoke of ‘exit strategies.’ Calls for an exit of German troops from Afghanistan have grown especially after the recent aerial bombing of civilians near a fuel tanker in Kunduz, allegedly on the orders of a German commander. The situation in Afghanistan is precarious and if Merkel decides to pullout will prove disastrous for the NATO solidarity.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry