Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you along with everyone else are looking at the upcoming German elections with some amount of trepidation. Chancellor Angela Merkel is running for her fourth term and the leadership of Europe has never been more important. Together, the European Union is the largest trading bloc in the world. In other words, the moral cohesion of that union is in a large part, dependent on who takes the lead. That in turn, can influence where the world will look to for leadership.
Germany and Chancellor Merkel have been the driving force behind Europe’s stance towards taking in refugees from the war-torn countries of Syria, Libya and many other countries facing economic stagnation. She also stands in direct opposition to the more autocratic tendencies of American President Trump and Russian President Putin.
But the German election isn’t about a battle of two parties or two personalities. The German elections instead are parliamentary. German citizens will vote for parties rather than individuals. That means each party, whether it be the Christian Democrat Union (CDU - Merkel), the Social Democrats (SD - Schulz), or smaller parties like the far right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) must win —and then a coalition must be formed.
Remember Volkswagen and the Emissions Scandal? It Might Make a Comeback.
The automotive industry is hugely important to the German economy, but in 2015 investigations showed that Volkswagen was cheating its emissions tests. This has brought concerns to European citizens about whether diesel is safe from an emissions standpoint. The European Commission is bringing a case against Germany for not enforcing clean air regulations. German politicians have a history of working to keep emission regulations lower in order to keep the exports of German cars high. In this last election, Daimler contributed around 100,000 euros each to Chancellor Merkel’s CDU party and the Social Democrats.
Merkel is facing a challenge from Social Democrat Martin Schulz
The largest challenger that Merkel faces is from the Social Democrats. Smaller parties like the Left or the Greens poll just under 10 percent. In the only televised debate, Merkel and Schulz argued about Germany’s relationship with Turkey and the refugee policies that Merkel’s CDU coalition government has adopted. However, Merkel stayed strong on her policy of allowing around one million migrants to enter Germany in 2015. She also agreed that Turkey’s actions do not merit entrance into the European Union.
Hacking Hasn’t Yet Struck Germany
Like in the French and American elections, German officials are on the lookout for leaks and hacking attempts to influence their elections. As of yet, this has not played a role in voting.
The Vote is On September 24
Germans head to the polls on September 24 to decide if they are comfortable with their leadership role in Europe. What do you expect will happen? Will Chancellor Merkel remain in power, will the power shift to parties with more conservative stances on refugees?
PC: Merkel gegen Schulz - Duell auf Augenhöhe? - Politik, from: bundesdeutsche-zeitung.de