The interesting point was not whether Chancellor Angela Merkel wins her fourth term. The sea of conjecture, on the contrary is whether the opposition’s far-right party emerges as the country’s next major political force. In fact, this overtly nationalist party has entered the German parliament for the first time. Also parties like the Left Party and the Social Democrats are made serious gains in these polls. The fate was sealed by the voters queue to express their mandate in ballot boxes yesterday.
This election where around sixty million people are eligible to vote, which way Europe would sail, post the series of terrorist attacks and influx of refugees from Middle-East. Issues like the economy and immigration have dominated the campaign and this was the first national vote since Germany opened doors to thousands of migrants in 2015.
Chancellor Merkel continued her reign as the longest-serving leader in Western Europe. As she stays in power, she will match her mentor Helmut Kohl’s record of 16 years. The outcome of the election was significant not just at home but globally too. Merkel is credited with steering Germany successfully through times of crisis. Employment rate is on an all-time high in Germany.
Merkel’s last term was visibly her toughest with the migrant crisis. It also took the toll on her popularity rankings. Angela Merkel has dumped her previous open-door policy, which led to a huge refugee influx into the country. More than a million migrants arrived in Germany in 2015. Angela Merkel has tried to reduce the influence of Germany´s right-wing populist party, AFD, by proposing and supporting the idea of a burqa ban, and in the future such bountiful measures will not be taken.
Germany plays a dominant role in the European Union, paying more than any other nation to the EU budget. This will likely give it plenty of leverage on all matters Brexit. The European Union needs stability and Brexit has led to the toll by the uncertainty created as a result of one of the most important EU countries leaving the Union.
Internationally, the auto giant’s economy is highly influential, and its current Chancellor has often been described as the most powerful woman in the world. As Merkel seals this election, she has been the unquestionable voice of Europe. She would now emerge as the undoubting hope to millions of immigrants in an era when leaders are bent on dividing humans by building walls.
Another factor has tilted the verdict is the reaction of the 7 hundred thousand Turks who had been keenly watching the diplomatic crisis brewing between Berlin and Ankara for over a year, which has left a bitter taste. The German government’s official recognition of the Armenian genocide last year and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision earlier this month to halt discussions on Turkey’s EU membership have added to their worries. Historically, Germany’s Turkish community swings to the left.
This may reflect the growing hostilities, but a Germany sticking to moderation and not getting extreme, is good news for Europe and for the liberal world at large.