Merkel or Martin, Or Merkel and Martin

It is Germany’s turn to vote for consistency or a change.

Germany’s federal elections loom large. There is great hue and cry over Martin Schulz and Angela Merkel, and the potential decision about the country’s next leader. But is a grand coalition, a third one, to be exact, the only better choice the Germans have?

Between 1966 and 1969, the grand coalition boosted the ultra-right party, NPD. The coalition led to the formation of the extreme leftist movement, which led to the emergence of the Baader-Meinhof terrorist network. The grand coalition of 2005-2009 resulted in excessive support to the Green Party and the Left party. The recent 2013-2017 grand coalition benefited primarily the right-wing anti-immigrant party – the Alternative für Deutschland. Statistically, the support for the right-wing party has increased from 4.7 percent to 13.5 percent. The reason for Germany’s decision to turn to grand coalitions is because the main political parties reject, categorically, any dealing with extremist groups. A grand coalition was the only choice, perhaps.

In 2017, it is speculated that the Christian Democrats would win the general elections, should its support remain intact and accordingly, Ms. Merkel would lead the coalition. But would it pave way for AfD’s absolute power, is the concern.

Currently, Merkel seems to have lapped up support in Saarland, with Schulz, quite unpredictably not conquering enough of it. But, what has caused this rigid difference in votes, is the concern. One significant difference in ideologies remains the candidates’ perspectives on economic policies. While both Merkel and Schulz seem to be on the same benevolent platform in case of refugees, Schulz’s take on labour reforms may be something that is perhaps both ill-favoured and well-taken. His ideas about labour reforms seem to challenge conventions that Germany’s economic performance is rooted in. These reforms in Germany are much revered, and considered compelling contributors to the economy’s path to growth and prosperity, so much so, that Germany stands much ahead of other tormented economies like Italy and Greece in the current socioeconomic race. Schulz postulates himself as the people’s person; but his intentions are unclear – to be independent of the CDU? Or to make Germany better?

Let us not deprecate Merkel’s politic, albeit vicious, contribution in it. Merkel made Germany outperform its neighbours, but at the expense of their own economies. Her policies on asylum seekers have been as dramatically drastic as a soap opera queen’s emotions. She made it seem that Germany was a friend, after all, when all the while she was constructing an imaginary wall against refugees. Perhaps it is plain and simple: Merkel’s aim has been power, and power alone. It may be wrong to discount political leaders’ objectives in general. But Merkel’s strategies just give away too much of her intentions.

Refugee protection and priorities may be equally important concerns, but they take the backstage at an hour when the domestic population is raring to vote on promises of better socioeconomic statuses.

Germany still faces challenges in the economic sphere. High rates of unemployment, over regulation, lower economic growth from the financial crisis and a rising number of immigrants, are just some of them. Germany needs a leader who has the discerning character to take the economy ahead, inspite of its financial affliction. Both Merkel and Schulz plan things for the economy, that are not only too-far-to-dream, but are lain with political dust.  But the problem is not about economics alone. Germany’s grand coalitions have resulted in strengthening the extremists, more often than not. Germany needs a leader, not political tensions, and definitely not uncertainty.

With contribution from Stephen Mbroto

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