Germany held its state elections in two regions yesterday and to say the least, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party did not fare well. Voters in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate went to the polls with plenty of complaints about the CDU’s handling of the pandemic response, along with some recent scandals that have tarnished the party’s image. Less than a year ago, Merkel and her party were receiving high marks from the public during the early stages of the pandemic, but now voters seem to be done with them. The Green Party trounced the CDU in one region while the far-left Social Democrats defeated them in the other. Both races delivered 8% margins of victory in places where Merkel had done quite well in previous years. Angela Merkel is not seeking reelection, so whoever takes her place at the top of the ticket just inherited a considerably steeper hill to climb. (Newsmax)
Germany’s Christian Democrats slumped to record defeats in two regional votes on Sunday after a muddled coronavirus response, dealing a setback to the party which must contest federal elections in September without Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Merkel, in power since 2005, is not seeking re-election at the national vote and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is already missing the “Merkel bonus” she has brought them with four consecutive national election victories…
Voters used the state elections to vent their annoyance.
Some voters cited a recent scandal involving the government’s procurement of face masks. Some legislators from Merkel’s party resigned after the public learned that they had personally profited from deals to have the face masks procured. Others commented on the “excessive bureaucracy” that characterized the vaccine distribution plan, leaving many people waiting for an appointment. As if that wasn’t bad enough, no sooner had they finished counting the votes than Germany suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after reports of blood clots among the vaccinated.
We should note that the AstraZeneca vaccine wasn’t exactly popular to begin with and it’s not clear that the vaccine is the cause of the issue. The number of patients experiencing these clots is so low that it may turn out to be entirely coincidental.
The bottom line is that the Greens, the Social Democrats, and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) are once again free to team up in a liberal coalition to challenge the CDU in the national elections this fall. That might not happen, though, because they’ve tried that before and they wound up coming up short nationally while gaining more influence regionally.
I’m old enough to remember when the biggest problem on Germany’s plate was the flood of refugees streaming into their country. But apparently, the pandemic really has changed everything, including politics in nations all over the world.