After devastating election results for her grand coalition in the German states of Hesse and Bavaria, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (shown) has announced that she will not run again for office when her current term is up in 2021. Merkel will also stand down as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.
Both elections were actually small plurality victories for Merkel’s grand coalition, but both showed rapidly eroding support. The CDU and Social Democratic Party (SDP) each saw support for their parties drop by about 10 percent in both elections. The left-wing Green Party gained about 12 percent and the right-wing and anti-open-border party Alternative for Germany (AfD) received about 12 percent of the vote.
On Monday, Merkel announced her decision not to run in 2021, saying that the recent election results served as a “clear signal that things can’t go on as they are.” Merkel claimed that she had made the decision not to seek reelection prior to the parliamentary summer recess.
Calling her 13-year run as chancellor a “daily challenge and honor,” Merkel said that she recognized that it was time to “start a new chapter” in her life. Merkel has been the German chancellor since 2005 and the leader of the CDU since 2000.
Merkel, who is 64 years old, will leave her position in the CDU as early as December when the party selects new leadership at its conference in Hamburg.
“At the next CDU conference in December, in Hamburg, I will not be running again for the position as head of the CDU,” Merkel announced.
Merkel’s announcement shook the European Union as well, with the euro falling sharply just after her speech. French President Emmanuel Macron, who will likely become the top politician in Europe now, praised Merkel’s decision, calling it “very respectable” and dignified. President Trump, who has frequently clashed with Merkel, has not yet commented publicly on Merkel’s announcement.
It’s conceivable that Merkel could be out of office before 2021 if the Bundestag (German Parliament) calls for a Snap Election prior to 2021. Merkel announced she will not run should such an election be called before she leaves office.
Merkel hopes that her planned departure will end the bitter infighting among the fragile right-left coalition she has maintained for over a decade. Merkel’s “center-right” CDU joined with the center-left SDP and the Christian Social Union (CSU) of Bavaria to form the current grand coalition government in Germany.
“With this decision I am trying to make a contribution which enables the German government to finally concentrate its efforts on good governance, something people demand and rightly so,” Merkel told members of the CDU.
Once considered the world’s most powerful woman and the de facto leader of not just Germany but all of Europe, Merkel’s standing has fallen in recent years, primarily because of her 2015 decision to allow essentially open immigration during the so-called Syrian migrant crisis.
In the late summer of 2015, Merkel made the decision to allow hundreds of thousands of migrants, ostensibly fleeing Syria and the civil war raging there, to come to Europe. This decision flooded Germany, and by extension most of Europe, with hundreds of thousands of migrants, many of whom were unwilling to assimilate into their European host cultures. It also allowed the rise of the “right-wing” AfD, which was founded in 2013 specifically to stem the flow of immigration into Germany.
The decision to open Germany’s borders has led to three years of violent clashes between open-borders leftists and German nationalists who want a closed border. Opposition to open borders has increased thanks to immigrant violence against German citizens, and the German public has lost confidence in Merkel and the center-right CDU and its fellow coalition member parties.
Merkel’s decision to allow the influx of immigration stands in stark contrast to President Trump, who has called for a wall to be built on America’s southern border and is now sending troops to the border to meet the so-called migrant caravan making its way through Mexico to come to the United States.
Merkel’s fate is a cautionary tale for politicians who call for open borders. Even in socially liberal Europe, many citizens still prefer national boundaries and government that enact and enforce immigration laws. Taking in floods of immigrants may seem like the compassionate thing to do but, ultimately, it’s bad for everyone.
And it’s especially bad for your political career.