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Angela Merkel, the enigma.

Manc Skipper

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A fascinationg prog to watch if you can get it on BBC I-Player.

"This weekend, there's an election that will influence the future of much of Europe - Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Greece and many other countries. But none of them can vote. The election is in Germany - and the woman at the centre of this political event is Angela Merkel.

For every country in Europe, it's all about the economy. Across the continent, people are still battling with the twists and turns of the financial crisis. And wherever you are, economic recovery depends heavily on how Angela Merkel treats the next stage of the crisis: these days, most roads lead to Berlin.

That's why it has long seemed to me that one of the most important political reporting jobs right now is to try to understand Angela Merkel better. But Mrs Merkel is an unusually private and reticent politician - there is no exhibitionism and grandstanding. Even for Germans, she's a hard woman to know. ... "

BBC News - The making of Angela Merkel, a German enigma
 

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I think it's unfortunate this doesn't get a lot of coverage in our media. In my opinion, our economic fate is intertwined with the fate of our friends across the pond.
 

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The article touches on some interesting themes, but fails to provide any real insights. Sometimes, it sounds outright silly. Frau Merkel is naturally inclined to some sort of "social solidarity", because she had spent her formative years in the bloody DDR (crouching in fear of the Stasi eavesdropping, as indicated in another part of the same article)? Please.
 
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Grand Mal

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The article touches on some interesting themes, but fails to provide any real insights. Sometimes, it sounds outright silly. Frau Merkel is naturally inclined to some sort of "social solidarity", because she had spent her formative years in the bloody DDR (crouching in fear of the Stasi eavesdropping, as indicated in another part of the same article)? Please.

Please what?
What I got from the report is that Angela Merkel, by her life experience, is a well-rounded European.
 

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Will be interesting to see if the anti-euro AfD manages to win the 5.0% of the votes necessary to enter the parliament. If yes, Merkel will get pressure from anti-Europeans in the next four years and will probably not be able to afford evoking the impression she's easily giving away German money (assuming she's reelected).
 

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Please what?
What I got from the report is that Angela Merkel, by her life experience, is a well-rounded European.

I refer to the suggestion that the (fake) social solidarity of the Communist East Germany had somehow rubbed off on Merkel, despite her antagonism to its regime.
 

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I refer to the suggestion that the (fake) social solidarity of the Communist East Germany had somehow rubbed off on Merkel, despite her antagonism to its regime.

My impression is that she's certainly not a "cold-hearted" libertarian. But I suspect that rather her Christian upbringing (her father was a pastor and even voluntarily moved from West to East Germany in order to support the oppressed church there) has to do with that, than any socialist indoctrination (in fact, people close to the church were among the most skeptic and critical East Germans). Not saying she is particularly religious, you just get that particular "feel" about her, which makes total sense with that background.

But of course I could be wrong, in case she's a master of creating an entirely different image of herself in public. But based on her lacking rhetoric skills, and the general image of "boring honesty" that's around her, I don't think that's the case. She certainly never attempted to portray herself as a religious person for public relation purposes.

My general impression is that she takes her job very seriously and has a strong sense of duty towards the office, while on the other side, she is not ideological at all but extremely pragmatic about the content of her policies.
 
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My impression is that she's certainly not a "cold-hearted" libertarian. But I suspect that rather her Christian upbringing (her father was a pastor and even voluntarily moved from West to East Germany in order to support the oppressed church there) has to do with that, than any socialist indoctrination (in fact, people close to the church were among the most skeptic and critical East Germans). Not saying she is particularly religious, you just get that particular "feel" about her, which makes total sense with that background.

But of course I could be wrong, in case she's a master of creating an entirely different image of herself in public. But based on her lacking rhetoric skills, and the general image of "boring honesty" that's around her, I don't think that's the case. She certainly never attempted to portray herself as a religious person for public relation purposes.

My general impression is that she takes her job very seriously and has a strong sense of duty towards the office, while on the other side, she is not ideological at all but extremely pragmatic about the content of her policies.
I would vote for her to be my president in a heartbeat. She seems like a tough and capable woman.
 

Manc Skipper

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Imagine a conservative president who believed that unions have a place in the boardroom with management! The TV prog compared her rise with Thatcher, (both scientists, female in a male political world, attacked their benefactor to take power...) though they are very different.
 

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Imagine a conservative president who believed that unions have a place in the boardroom with management!.

The German Works Constitution Act (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz) is a cornerstone law of the land, dating back to 1952 (some modifications in 1972 and 2001).
1952 means, of course, the near-total domination of Christian Democrats, with Konrad Adenauer being Chancellor for 5 terms, from 1949 to 1963. That's how things had been set up from the beginning - by conservatives, with conservative goals in mind.

Comparing this setup with, say, what's going on in America makes very little sense. History is different, rules are different. German labor leaders normally do not see extorting as much as possible from the corporate "foe" as their perpetual immediate goal. And there's much less direct government meddling on the federal level. Germany has no minimum wage, for example: the wage levels are worked out between unions and business associations, on the industry-to-industry basis. Also, in sharp contrast with many other countries and American states, forced union membership (de jure or de facto, by non-members paying compulsory bargaining fees) is prohibited by law. All German states are "right-to-work" states.

Unions are a natural product of free-market relationships. Freedom of association. How their role is viewed by a "conservative" (pro-free-market) president depends on how they operate after gaining influence.
 

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1952 means, of course, the near-total domination of Christian Democrats, with Konrad Adenauer being Chancellor for 5 terms, from 1949 to 1963.

Thanks! A very informative, and as I can see accurate summary.

Please excuse my nitpicking, but I'd like to correct that Adenauer was not Chancellor for 5 terms, but 3.5 terms (elections 1949, 53, 57 and 61).
 

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Thanks! A very informative, and as I can see accurate summary.

Please excuse my nitpicking, but I'd like to correct that Adenauer was not Chancellor for 5 terms, but 3.5 terms (elections 1949, 53, 57 and 61).

Absolutely. Nitpicking is welcome, whenever nits are really there :)
 

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German Guy, is there any info on the early polls?
 

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Will be interesting to see if the anti-euro AfD manages to win the 5.0% of the votes necessary to enter the parliament. If yes, Merkel will get pressure from anti-Europeans in the next four years and will probably not be able to afford evoking the impression she's easily giving away German money (assuming she's reelected).

I wasn't paying much attention, but the AfD appears to be a respectable right-liberal grouping, quite different from populist "eurosceptics" in other countries. If they are a single-issue protesters rooting for restoration of the Deutschmark (which is my superficial impression), do you think they could become an "emergency replacement" for FDP, if liberals fail to clear the barrier? After all, Greens had been coalition partners with SPD many times, without getting what they wanted as the anti-nuclear party. The Alternative could be offered a whole bunch of influential positions that have little to do with the currency disputes.
 

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My understanding is, making exit polls public before the voting booths close is illegal in Germany. We will have to wait for another long 40 minutes :)

Really? LOLz.

On one side, it does seem like a logical move and very respectable, on the other side... where's my circus? :)
 

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Really? LOLz.

On one side, it does seem like a logical move and very respectable, on the other side... where's my circus? :)

As you probably know: It's gonna be a long night. FDP at 4.7% and anti-Euro AfD at 4.9%.

5.0% is necessary to enter parliament. All possible coalitions depend on these two now. Could take until 11pm until we know if they're in or out.
 

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As you probably know: It's gonna be a long night. FDP at 4.7% and anti-Euro AfD at 4.9%.

5.0% is necessary to enter parliament. All possible coalitions depend on these two now. Could take until 11pm until we know if they're in or out.

Why does the FDP score so low? Didn't they do over 10% in the last elections? I thought they were among the top 5 largest parties in Parliament? Is it because of the scandals surrounding members of the FDP?

Also. since germany is mixed member representation, I have 2 questions.

If a party doesn't get 5% ,what happens to the votes the people gave to them? So if a party gets 4.9%, they don't get in... who gets the 4.9%? How does Germany handle this?
And say, the FDP, they have people running in disctricts. If one of their people gets voted to office in a district as it were, but his party fails to get 5% to enter the parliament, does he get to have his seat in parliament or not?
 

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One British commentator was speculating at lunchtime on which coalition Angela would be leading.
 

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As you probably know: It's gonna be a long night. FDP at 4.7% and anti-Euro AfD at 4.9%.

5.0% is necessary to enter parliament. All possible coalitions depend on these two now. Could take until 11pm until we know if they're in or out.

Oh, man. It looks like the AfD had cannibalized the conservative/liberal vote, and the result may be second Grand Coalition.

(Correct me if I am wrong, but there's another, highly unusual possibility: As things stand right now, according to ARD at least, the CDU has 298 seats, out of 598. They may not need any coalition. Not a good result, from my hard-core liberal (in the FDP sense) perspective, but preferable to most any promiscuous "mixing of colors", if it cannot be Black-and-Gold)
 
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Huh?

Is this really happening? The absolute majority for the Merkel's party, I mean?
 

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I think they got about 43%... not absolute majority by itself.

source: German Election Results - Business Insider

Oh, but it is, translated into parliamentary seats: At this moment, ZDF gives them 304 seats out of 606, and ARD - 302 out of 598.

And, I am glad to point out, the combined non-socialist popular vote (42-something % for the Union, almost 5% for AfD, and some 4.7% for the liberals) does exceed 50%, comfortably.
 
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Oh, but it is, translated into parliamentary seats: At this moment, ZDF gives them 304 seats out of 606, and ARD - 302 out of 598.

Hmmm.... well counting isn't over is it? Who knows, maybe all votes here-on-in are for the socialists :p. The lazy bastards voted later in the day :p

Nah, I keed, but still. It could be interesting if they get a slim absolute majority. It means that they better put all their members on vitamins so that none get sick when they have to vote :D
 

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sehr gut... Angie & Co. are on the cusp...
 
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