Monday, 12 November, 2018

Change in Germany: Leading candidates to replace Merkel

Germans Are Completely Fed Up Want Change – Ex Diplomat on Elections Germans Are Completely Fed Up Want Change – Ex Diplomat on Elections
Ray Hunter | 30 October, 2018, 05:10

German chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition partner, the centre-left SPD party, has said it might quit government after another drubbing in a regional election.

The surprise news comes a day after the CDU and its junior federal coalition partner the Social Democrats (SPD) suffered heavy losses in an election in the state of Hesse, just two weeks after a similar drubbing in Bavaria.

Merkel had previously indicated that she planned to seek another two-year term as leader of her at a party congress in December.

Other contenders include Health Minister Jens Spahn, who has publicly criticized her open-doors refugee policy and is championed by the CDU's social conservatives; Ralph Brinkhaus, a fiscal hawk who unexpectedly ousted Merkel's longtime parliamentary caucus leader.

Mass-circulation daily Bild reported, citing sources in the CDU leadership, that Mrs Merkel said she would not run again for the party leadership. Merkel's CDU party narrowly finished in first place, while suffering an 11-point drop from the last election in 2013.

Hesse Prime Minister and Christian Democratic top candidate Volker Bouffier reacts to supporters at a party's election party after first results of the Hesse state election announced in Wiesbaden, Germany, Oct. 28, 2018. "I have said over the past few days that Angela Merkel knows best what to do, and now she has decided".

Electoral drubbings like the latest on Sunday in the state of Hessen were "a watershed, but in them could lie a chance", Merkel said, for Germany's mainstream political parties including her own to find a way forward.

After speculation by media and politicians alike around why the chancellor made the announcement, Ms. Merkel said she had chose to signal that she had heard the message voters were sending.

Powerball results for 10/24/18; did anyone win the $602M jackpot?
But he had a message of thanks: "I want to thank everybody", Livingston said. "It's wonderful we can't thank them enough". Mickle says she first thought her uncle was confused when he said he won, but staff later confirmed his story.

It is still unclear what this means for Merkel's leadership.

Often referred to by her initials "AKK", her Catholic views overlap more with the conservative wing of the CDU than Merkel on social questions like abortion or gay marriage.

Merkel, who is 64, has served as chancellor since 2005. "I will not run as candidate for chancellor in the 2021 election, and will not seek re-election to the German parliament".

Merkel, who is thought to be preparing a slow withdrawal from politics, had previously indicated she would stand for the position, potentially for the last time.

The coalition of the CDU and the Social Democrats (SPD) nearly collapsed, first over disputes on immigration policy, and then over the fate of a domestic intelligence chief.

Merkel's grand coalition has come close to collapse this year over migration issues and a scandal involving the country's spy chief.

Growing anti-immigrant feelings in Germany have fueled support for the AfD in recent years. Merkel has been under pressure for creating a coalition with the SPD. "The CDU should make way for a new start in a government or a new election in Germany", he told NTV, a TV channel.

Merkel has dragged the CDU to the political centre in her years as leader, dropping military conscription, introducing benefits encouraging fathers to look after their young children, and abruptly accelerating the shutdown of Germany's nuclear power plants following Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011.

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