In the second setback for Angela Merkel in the last few days, Frank-Walter Steinmeier Set for German Presidency against the chancellor’s wishes.
Steinmeier is a Social Democrat, not a member of Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance.
Angela Merkel, German chancellor, has suffered a political setback by accepting that foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a candidate from the rival Social Democrat party, should be the country’s next president.
Mr Steinmeier is likely to be voted into the largely honorary post with reluctant backing from the chancellor’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance, which has failed to find a suitable candidate.
The decision will rob Germany of an experienced and respected foreign minister at a time of tension in international politics, with the US set for policy changes after Donald Trump’s election; the UK facing an exit from the EU; and Russia asserting its power on the EU’s eastern flanks.
The choice of Mr Steinmeier is a rare political victory for Sigmar Gabriel, leader of the social democratic SPD, ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections. Both ruling parties in the coalition headed by Ms Merkel will be under pressure in the poll from the rightwing populist Alternative for Germany, which has won support during the refugee crisis.
While Mr Steinmeier’s removal from frontline politics will deprive the social democrats of a popular figure in the parliamentary campaign, Mr Gabriel appears to have calculated that it is better to be able to point to a victory before next year’s election battle.
If the move is confirmed, Mr Steinmeier, 60, would take over from Joachim Gauck, a 76-year-old former east German pastor who is retiring at the end of his five-year presidential term.
Ms Merkel wanted a conservative but her favourite, Norbert Lammert, the Bundestag speaker, declined.
While the procedure for choosing a president means the CDU/CSU might have been able to block Mr Steinmeier, Ms Merkel seems to have decided that such an outcome would be undesirable for a post meant to unite all Germans and that she did not want to be blamed for such a result.
Boris Johnson Snubs Emergency Meeting of EU Foreign Ministers to Discuss Donald Trump.
For more snub details please see EU in Total Disarray After UK, France, Hungary Snub Meeting Demanded by Germany; Trump Meets Nigel Farage.
Merkel’s power is on the wane and has been for quite some time.
In September, Merkel came in third place, to the anti-immigration, eurosceptic AfD party in her own home state in statewide elections.
- October 18, 2015: Swamped By Stupidity; Peak Merkel
- January 29, 2016: Poll Shows Nearly 40% of Germans Want Merkel to Resign
- February 28, 2016: Merkel’s Failure Now Obvious to Entire World
- August 28, 2016: Reuters reports Half of Germans against Merkel serving fourth Term: Poll
- September 5, 2016: Merkel humiliated in 3rd Place Finish to AfD in State Elections; Irony of the Day
- September 18, 2016: Merkel Suffers Setback in Berlin
A CNBC analyst says Germany’s Merkel Set to Win Fourth Term in a Messy Election.
I am not convinced she will even run. We will likely find out in December.
The only thing preventing a complete collapse of Merkel right now is lack of a CDU/CSU challenger.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock