Merkel’s Exit Is Remaking Germany’s Political Landscape

German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech during a special session of the Bundestag on Afghanistan, in Berlin, Germany, Aug. 25, 2021 (Photo by Markus Schreiber).
German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech during a special session of the Bundestag on Afghanistan, in Berlin, Germany, Aug. 25, 2021 (Photo by Markus Schreiber).

It’s almost hard to believe that Germany is currently in the middle of a national election. Although the campaign season is in its heiße Phase, or “hot phase,” reminders of the looming vote are rare and subtle: unobtrusive posters and billboards of candidates and a few lingering canvassers. Even in normal times, Germany has strict laws on how and when a party can campaign—but the coronavirus pandemic has reduced the volume even more, moving much of the voter outreach online. The calm even prompted one German newspaper, Die Welt, to run a headline asking, “Is this the most boring federal election […]

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