The political situation continues to deteriorate in Germany and this is good news for rationality. The “green queen” Angela Merkel is struggling to retain her leadership position, both in Germany and in the ever-green European Union. Even if she succeeds she will be greatly weakened at home and Germany will probably lose its hold on Europe. The EU might even come apart at the seams.
The basic cause of all this turmoil is a Trump-like populist revolt by the German people. Like most European countries, Germany has a lot of different political partied, so small changes can have a big impact.
In this case a new, populist party got a 15% share of the vote in national elections in September. This proved to be a tipping point, because it drove Merkel’s coalition of parties to a new low in the polls, breaking it up.
Merkel tried to form a new coalition, but it foundered on the issue of phasing out coal fired electric power, which one of the parties refused to go along with. The new populism had a big role to play here too.
She is now trying to get back together with her old left-wing coalition partners, but their memberships are resisting strongly. Things got worse when her agriculture minister cast Germany’s EU vote in favor of not banning the wonderful herbicide Roundup, which the greens hate. Merkel claims she did not approve that vote but there it is.
So after two months Germany in reality still has no new government, with the old government tending the store as quietly as possible. Another possibility is that Merkel’s party will try to govern from a minority position. In a parliamentary system you are out as soon as you lose a major vote on legislation, so minority ruling requires constantly forming new coalitions on the fly.
The final alternative is to repeat the national elections until some sort of majority emerges. None of this has happened before in modern memory, so it is a very big deal, a true mess. It is quite possible that Merkel will lose her leadership position in the process, creating yet another transition.
All of this is good news as far as moving away from left-wing and green ideologies is concerned. Germany’s actions have been disastrous, driving energy prices through the roof. It is good news as well as far as curbing the EU is concerned, where the populist revolt is coming from all sides. Britain is already pulling out and others may well follow. This is especially true since Germany has more or less fallen, as they were the EU’s strongest supporter. France, the third major EU economy, is now led by a new party, which ran on a “reform the EU” platform, so even they are a threat to the EU of sorts. In short the left-wing EU may not survive. Fine by me.
This hopeful turmoil all deserves to be closely watched in the days and months to come. Perhaps the Trump Administration can lend a hand. The left-wing press likes to say that after President Trump was elected, Chancellor Merkel became the so-called “leader of the free world.” It sure does not look that way, as populism has its say. Good news indeed.