Does This Mark The End For Angela Merkel’s Rule?

Following a vote ordeal on Tuesday in her home state, Germany’s media seems to point to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s days of leadership to her nation and Europe’s biggest economy, being through

Headlines were direct, all worded slightly differently, yet indicating that change was soon to come. Some included, “Merkel’s rule collapses,” and “Merkel is past her zenith.” The shift in support arguably comes due to voters being angry over Merkel’s stance on the refugee crisis, which is quite a liberal one, and left the Christian Democratic Union trailing behind a “rightwing populist party in Sunday’s state poll,” as the Associated French Press shares.

However, there is still a year to go until general elections and at the moment, there remains to be any competitors who seem to be strong enough to fully overthrow Merkel, seeing as Germany’s political state is quite fractured. This leaves analysts to warn not to write the chancellor off just yet.

Up until last year, from the point she took command in 2005, Merkel saw approval ratings soar as high as 75 percent. In September of 2015, she looked as though she would remain in power for many years to come after earning praise worldwide following her decision to open doors to Syrian refugees and migrants fleeing from war-oppressed nations.

How so very much can change in a year’s time. Fears have arisen over integrating millions of individuals who entered Germany seeking refuge thanks to Merkel’s policy. These worries, indeed, played their role in the polls recently taken. At this point, only 44 percent of voters wish to have Merkel seek a fourth term as leader of the nation, a position that has been hers for over a decade.

The Leader of the CSU which is the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, Horst Seehofer, noted the pressure felt after the results of Sunday’s polls were made known, stating, “the situation is a serious threat for the Union”.

“The people no longer understand how policy is made in Germany. They feel like they are not included.”

The Leader of the SDP, which is the junior coalition partner to the CDU, Sigmar Gabriel, also hurled accusations Merkel’s way, accusing the chancellor of “empty words.”

“Mrs Merkel seemed to be happy to leave it at the ‘We can do it’ stage. Our criticism is centred on repeating ‘We can do it’ without actually doing it,” he said, in reference to the German leader’s rallying call for her refugee policy.

For all of the negativity thrown at Angela Merkel, however, there really seems to be, as aforementioned, no strong alternative or competitor to the long-time leader of Germany. Gabriel only has 16 percent of voters wanting him to take over the rule. Fellow party member Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the foreign minister of Germany, did better with 38 percent of the vote, yet he still trails Merkel and her 44 percent of the vote.

Within Merkel’s own conservative alliance, there also remains to be seen an individual who comes close to her slice of the political pie. Seehofer received only 26 percent while the Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen tallied up a mere 15 percent in the polls carried out last week.

Political analyst at the German Marshall Fund spoke with the Associated French Press about how ironic it is that with all the negative press and speculation that Merkel is done, nothing really seems to be all that different.

“It’s a really funny situation… because actually nothing changes at all. There’s no threat to Merkel really — partly because there is no real alternative, and her opponents within the CDU know that… she is probably still the best election winner that the CDU has.”

[Photo by Etienne Oliveau – Pool/Getty Images]