Germany’s Anti-Climactic Election Masks Problems for Merkel Down the Line

Germany’s Anti-Climactic Election Masks Problems for Merkel Down the Line
A man walks by campaign posters of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her main challenger, Martin Schulz, Frankfurt, Germany, Sept. 20, 2017 (AP photo by Michael Probst).

BERLIN—For weeks, Germany’s upcoming federal election has seemed like something of an anti-climax. Chancellor Angela Merkel, content to run a retrospective campaign based on her 12 years in power, appears set to cruise to another four-year term. Her center-right party’s traditional opponents on the left have found little traction in their criticism of Merkel’s record, in large part because they have spent the past four years in a governing coalition with her. Potentially divisive issues looming on the horizon have gone unaddressed.

This unusual harmony may mask future problems for Merkel and Germany after the voting on Sunday. Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) have not been pushed to articulate detailed positions on issues like the future of Germany’s economy, including growing inequality, or the German role on the international stage. The anti-climactic campaign has also crowded out disaffected voters, who are frustrated with the country’s current trajectory.

Many now appear to be finding a home in the far-right, nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD). The ardently anti-immigrant party looks set to cross the electoral threshold necessary to gain seats in the German parliament—the first time a far-right party has entered the Bundestag in the postwar era.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.