Fever of changes that swepts Europe apparently will not circumvent nor Germany. In such an unstable economic and politic context, what chances will have the present Chancellor, Angela Merkel, to get a third term? Hard to predict at this time. But certainly do not seem encouraging signs for Mrs. Merkel.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives suffered a crushing defeat on Sunday in an election in Germany’s most populous state, a result which could embolden the left opposition to step up its criticism of her European austerity policies, reports Reuters.
The election in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) – a western German state with a bigger population than the Netherlands and an economy the size of Turkey – are as a litmus test 18 months before a national election in which Merkel is expected to fight for a third term. Angela Merkel remains popular in Germany for her steady handling of the euro zone debt crisis, but the sheer scale of her party’s defeat leaves her vulnerable at a time when a backlash against her insistence on fiscal discipline is building across Europe. Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) saw their support plunge to just 25.8 percent, down from nearly 35 percent in 2010, and the worst result in the state since World War Two.
Update: On 25 May – German parliament will votes on Eurozone ‘Fiscal Compact’. The Fiscal Compact to strengthen budgetary discipline within the euro area will require a two-thirds majority in both the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, the upper house. Until now, cooperation between the coalition parties and the opposition has been smooth, underlining the pro-Europe sentiment. The SPD and the Greens are insisting on taxation of the financial sector and a growth package in return for their support. The latter fits into the broader debate on a European level, including modification of structural funds or even new financing instruments such as project bonds.