Features

Bruising in Bavaria for troubled Merkel

Angela Merkle's sister party, the Christian Social Union, has suffered heavy losses in Bavaria.

918-Merkel-634
Merkel: losing appeal

The Christian Social Union (CSU) "has dominated Bavarian politics for six decades", says Jon Henley in The Guardian. The party, which operates only in Bavaria and is the sister party of chancellor Angela Merkel's nationwide Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has won absolute majorities in 12 of the past 13 state-level elections.

But on Sunday, the CSU suffered huge losses, seeing its vote slump by more than ten percentage points. The centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) which is in coalition with the CDU and CSU in the national parliament also saw its vote halve. The big winners were the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which will enter the state parliament for the first time, and the "EU-loving, refugee-welcoming Greens", who doubled their share.

This result "has made the premature end of Merkel's governing coalition much more likely", says Christian Teevs in Der Spiegel. It shows "how fragile the major parties' foundations have become". Combined, the CDU, CSU and SPD only have "a razor-thin majority in recent nationwide polls".

If Merkel goes, this could be bad news, since she "remains Europe's indispensable leader" says Bloomberg. Even if she stays, a diminished chancellor "bodes ill for the west". Liberal democracy is "in retreat worldwide" while the European Union is "challenged by an erratic American partner and rising right-wing populism in Italy, Hungary and Poland, as well as in Germany itself". It must be hoped that she can "stop the rot" since "a divided, leaderless government in Berlin is the last thing Germany, or Europe, needs".

Recommended

Plenty more Brexit arguments to be settled yet
Brexit

Plenty more Brexit arguments to be settled yet

Many important negotiations remain to be sealed in our deal with the EU. “No deal is better than a bad deal” is the way to play it, says Matthew Lynn
10 Jan 2021
Will 2021 hold one last deflation scare?
Global Economy

Will 2021 hold one last deflation scare?

With many looking ahead to a world of high inflation, John Stepek looks at a couple of potential scenarios that could give the world one last deflatio…
28 Dec 2020
Will a stronger euro ruin Europe's rally?
European stockmarkets

Will a stronger euro ruin Europe's rally?

International investors have been buying into European stocks, driving the euro higher. But that surge now risks dampening the recovery that started i…
21 Sep 2020
No deal is the best deal for Britain – and the EU too
Brexit

No deal is the best deal for Britain – and the EU too

Europe has a lot to gain from a thriving, independent Britain, says Matthew Lynn.
6 Sep 2020

Most Popular

Of course bitcoin is a bubble – a bubble you can’t ignore
Bitcoin

Of course bitcoin is a bubble – a bubble you can’t ignore

Bitcoin’s wild ride is being called a bubble by many. And it is, says Dominic Frisby. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And it’s a bubble in whi…
13 Jan 2021
A simple way to profit from the next big trend change in the markets
Investment strategy

A simple way to profit from the next big trend change in the markets

Change is coming to the markets as the tech-stock bull market of the 2010s is replaced by a new cycle of rising commodity prices. John Stepek explains…
14 Jan 2021
I wish I knew what a SPAC was, but I’m too embarrassed to ask
Too embarrassed to ask

I wish I knew what a SPAC was, but I’m too embarrassed to ask

A financial instrument called a “special purpose acquisition company”, or SPAC for short, is growing increasingly popular in the US stockmarkets. But …
12 Jan 2021