Angela Merkel

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Germany: Donald Trump’s Election Leaves Angela Merkel as the Liberal West’s Last Defender | The New York Times

And then there was one. Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, has emerged as the last powerful defender of Europe and the trans-Atlantic alliance after the election of Donald J. Trump. But after 11 years in power, she is tired, her associates say, and under siege seemingly from all directions. She is under pressure from the same forces that elevated Mr. Trump in America, fueled Britain’s vote to exit the European Union and are now propelling the populist Marine Le Pen in France. At home, the hard-right Alternative for Germany party has scored a string of victories in state elections. Ms. Merkel needs to fend off a resurgent Russia that is promoting its brand of illiberal democracy by backing right-wing parties throughout the Continent and fanning the flames of populism. But with Mr. Trump openly admiring Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, even maintaining economic sanctions imposed on Moscow over conflicts in Crimea and Ukraine will be a challenge. “Never before has so much ridden on the Germans,” said Simon Tilford, the deputy director of the Center for European Reform in London. “We’re very fortunate that Germany is led now by Merkel, because there is a chance she will step up and do what Europe needs her to do.”

Full Article: Donald Trump’s Election Leaves Angela Merkel as the Liberal West’s Last Defender - The New York Times.

Germany: Angela Merkel’s party suffers slump in Berlin election | The Guardian

Berlin is likely to get the first leftwing triple-coalition government in its history, after Angela Merkel’s CDU party and the ruling Social Democrats both plummeted to their lowest result in the Germany capital. Centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) came out top with 21.6% of the vote, ahead of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) on 17.5%. Leftwing Die Linke came third on 15.7%, ahead of the Greens on 15.1%. Anti-immigration populists Alternative für Deutschland are set to enter the German capital’s state parliament for the first time, with 14.1%. Days before the election, mayor Michael Müller had warned that a double-digit score for the AfD “would be seen around the world as a sign of the return of the rightwing and the Nazis in Germany”.

Full Article: Angela Merkel's party suffers slump in Berlin election | World news | The Guardian.

Germany: Election bruises Merkel, but isn’t a knockout blow | Reuters

“It’s the refugees, stupid.” That might as well have been the catchphrase in Sunday’s regional elections in Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition suffered a crushing defeat. A budget surplus of 19 billion euros and the lowest unemployment rate in 25 years weren’t enough to keep the loyalty of voters in three states. The 1 million asylum seekers who reached Germany in 2015 — and the prospect of a similar number arriving this year — turned these elections into a referendum on Merkel’s refugee policy. The right-wing populist party, Alternative for Germany (AfD) burst into all three regional legislatures, winning not only a quarter of the vote in Saxony-Anhalt, a rustbelt state in the former East Germany, but also 15 percent in wealthy Baden-Wuerttemberg, according to preliminary results. The AfD was founded as an anti-euro party during the Greek debt crisis, but has since taken a hard line on refugees. The upstart party now holds seats in half of Germany’s 16 state assemblies.

Full Article: German election bruises Merkel, but isn’t a knockout blow.

Germany: Voters Punish Angela Merkel Over Migrant Policy in State Elections | Wall Street Journal

German voters dealt a stinging rebuke to Chancellor Angela Merkel and her open-door refugee policy in three state elections Sunday, delivering historic gains for an upstart anti-immigrant party and showing how the migration crisis is scrambling politics in Europe’s largest economy. The populist Alternative for Germany, which focused its campaign on opposition to Ms. Merkel’s migrant policy, won nearly a quarter of the vote in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt. The result—several percentage points higher than recent polls had suggested—represents the party’s best total in a regional election since its founding three years ago. The party, known as the AfD, also won parliamentary seats in two former West German states, giving it representation in eight of the country’s 16 state legislatures. That strengthens the AfD’s status as a significant political force to the right of Ms. Merkel’s conservative bloc—a turning point that her Christian Democrats long tried to prevent.

Full Article: German Voters Punish Angela Merkel Over Migrant Policy in State Elections - WSJ.

Germany: A right-wing party in Germany hopes to capitalize on anti-migrant anger | The Washington Post

In a new German political ad, a young woman in a dimly lighted underground crossing gazes directly into the camera. She flashes a concerned look, then references the series of sexual assaults in the city of Cologne allegedly committed by migrants on New Year’s Eve. “I want to feel carefree and safe when I go out,” the woman says in the spot. Afterward, a voice demands the deportation of criminal migrants. Sponsored by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party ahead of key local elections this Sunday, the ad is heralding the rise of a new brand of right-wing populism in this nation still haunted by its Nazi past.

Full Article: A right-wing party in Germany hopes to capitalize on anti-migrant anger - The Washington Post.

Ukraine: France and Germany Warn Vladimir Putin About Ukraine Separatist Elections | Wall Street Journal

The leaders of France and Germany told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday that rebel-run elections conducted in the separatist-controlled regions of Ukraine would endanger the so-called Minsk peace process for the country, a German government spokesman said. Ukraine is obliged to hold local elections by the end of this year in the east under the cease-fire deal agreed between Kiev, Moscow, Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in Minsk, Belarus, on Feb. 12. The country will hold local elections on Oct. 25 but has said it won’t run elections in rebel-held areas in the east because of continued violence there. The separatists have said they will hold their own ballots in mid October and early November.

Full Article: France and Germany Warn Vladimir Putin About Ukraine Separatist Elections - WSJ.

Germany: Social Democrats consider balloting members for top candidate | Europe Online

Germany‘s Social Democrats (SPD) are considering holding a direct ballot of their members to select a candidate to challenge Chancellor Angela Merkel at the next national election set down for 2017. Leading SPD figures said on Wednesday they were open to conducting a plebiscite of the party‘s about 474,000 members to decide on its chancellor candidate. This follows a call by the leader of the SPD‘s youth wing, Johanna Uekermann who told the daily Welt on Wednesday: “Each member must be allowed a say in a primary-type election.” SPD chief Sigmar Gabriel has also indicated recently that the party membership should be allowed to vote if several candidates emerge to head up the election campaign.

Full Article: German Social Democrats consider balloting members for top candidate | EUROPE ONLINE.

Germany: Angela Merkel’s conservatives suffer worst election result since WWII | Telegraph

Germany’s rapidly rising Eurosceptics have dealt a fresh embarrassing blow to Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats party in state elections in Hamburg. Alternative for Germany (AfD), which wants to force crisis-hit countries such as Greece out of the single currency, looked likely to win its first seats in a west German parliament. The AfD vote was hovering just above the 5 per cent threshold needed to win seats in parliament in initial projections based on a partial vote count. The AfD made significant gains from Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats, who saw their share of the vote fall by a projected 5.9 per cent in one of their worst results in recent times.

Full Article: Angela Merkel's conservatives suffer worst election result since WWII - Telegraph.

Greece: Anti-Austerity Party Appears Poised to Win Greek Elections | New York Times

Greece on Sunday appeared to reject the punishing economics of austerity and send a warning signal to the rest of Europe as exit polls showed the left-wing Syriza party with a strong lead in national elections, leaving the party’s tough-talking leader, Alexis Tsipras, likely to become the next prime minister. Exit polls, released on national television after voting stations closed at 7 p.m., showed Syriza running well ahead of the governing center-right New Democracy Party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and in a good position to win a plurality in the multiparty race. It remained unclear whether Syriza would be able to win an outright parliamentary majority, or if it would have to form a coalition with one or more of the trailing parties. Syriza’s likely victory would represent a dramatic milestone for Europe at a time when continuing economic weakness has stirred an angry, populist backlash from France to Spain to Italy, as more voters grow fed up with policies that demand sacrifice to address the discipline of financial markets without delivering more jobs and prosperity. Syriza would become the first anti-austerity party to take power in a eurozone country, and would shatter the two-party political establishment that has dominated Greece for four decades.

Full Article: Anti-Austerity Party Appears Poised to Win Greek Elections - NYTimes.com.

Greece: Samaras Warns of Euro Exit Risk as Greek Campaign Starts | Bloomberg

Greece’s political parties embarked on a flash campaign for elections in less than three weeks that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said will determine the fate of the country’s membership in the euro currency area. Samaras used a Jan. 2 speech to warn that victory for the main opposition Syriza party would cause default and Greece’s exit from the 19-member euro region, while Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said his party would end German-led austerity. Der Spiegel magazine reported Chancellor Angela Merkel is ready to accept a Greek exit, a development Berlin sees as inevitable and manageable if Syriza wins, as polls suggest. The high-stakes run-up to the Jan. 25 vote returns Greece to the center of European policy makers’ attention as they strive to fend off a return of the debt crisis that wracked the region from late 2009, forcing international financial support for five EU countries.

Full Article: Samaras Warns of Euro Exit Risk as Greek Campaign Starts - Bloomberg.

Germany: Thuringia elects first ever Left Party state premier | Deutsche Welle

Left Party politician Bodo Ramelow has been chosen as premier by the parliament in the eastern German state of Thuringia. The state now has the first socialist-led government in Germany since reunification in 1990. The state parliament of the eastern German state of Thuringia on Friday elected Bodo Ramelow to head a left-leaning coalition consisting of his Left Party, the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens. A former trade unionist from western Germany, Ramelow has become the first member of his party to become premier of a state.

Full Article: Thuringia elects first ever Left Party state premier.

Moldova: Pro-Western Parties Vow to Push Europe Ties After Close Victory | Wall Street Journal

Pro-Western parties in Moldova said Monday that they would press ahead with building closer ties to Europe, relying on a narrow victory in parliamentary elections to fend off Russia’s attempts to keep the ex-Soviet republic in its orbit. The election Sunday in one of the poorest countries in Europe was seen as an important battleground in the worst standoff between the West and Moscow since the Cold War, sparked by Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Russia has opposed the European Union’s moves to seal free-trade and political-association deals with countries in the region, including Ukraine and Moldova. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other Western leaders have warned that the Kremlin is trying to restore its old sphere of influence over its neighbors using economic and military pressure. After street protests in Kiev early this year ousted a pro-Moscow president, Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimea region and has backed separatists in the country’s east. Russia has also stationed troops in Transnistria, a pro-Russia breakaway region of Moldova, and has blocked imports of some of Moldovan meat, fruit and wine in response to the landlocked country’s EU ambitions.

Full Article: Moldova Pro-Western Parties Vow to Push Europe Ties After Close Victory - WSJ.

Ukraine: Merkel, Juncker Say EU’s Russia Sanctions to Stay After Eastern Ukraine Elections | Wall Street Journal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the new European Commission president said there was no prospect in sight of scaling back sanctions on Russia, maintaining a tough stance after Moscow embraced the results of a separatist election in eastern Ukraine. Ms. Merkel said in Berlin on Wednesday that the European Union should consider expanding its sanctions list to include the winners of Sunday’s local voting. The EU, Kiev and the U.S. have refused to recognize the elections and said that Russia’s refusal to condemn them are a breach of a September cease-fire. “We should also have another look at the list of specific individuals who now have responsibility in eastern Ukraine due to these illegitimate elections,” Ms. Merkel told reporters. “Otherwise I think we should maintain the sanctions we have.”

Full Article: Merkel, Juncker Say EU’s Russia Sanctions to Stay After Eastern Ukraine Elections - WSJ - WSJ.

Ukraine: Germany, EU reject rebel polls in eastern Ukraine | Deutsche Welle

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman told reporters at a news conference in Berlin on Monday that Sunday’s elections in rebel-held eastern Ukraine were “illegitimate,” as they contravened the country’s constitution and the Minsk ceasefire signed in September. Steffen Seibert also said the manner in which the polls in the rebel-declared Donetsk People’s Republic and the nearby self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic were conducted were “extremely questionable.” “It is all the more incomprehensible that there are official Russian voices that are respecting or even recognizing these so-called elections,” Seibert said. He added that under these circumstances there could be no thought of easing EU sanctions on Russia, and that if the situation in eastern Ukraine deteriorated further measures may be needed.

Full Article: Germany, EU reject rebel polls in eastern Ukraine | News | DW.DE | 03.11.2014.

Ukraine: Rebels Hold ‘Rogue’ Election | The Atlantic

Alexander Zakharchenko, a 38-year-old mining electrician, won an illegitimate election in pro-Russian separatist controlled Ukraine this weekend. The election was held to determine a leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic, however, the militant separatist group is not recognized as a legitimate power by the Ukrainian government. President Petro Poroshenko refers to them primarily as a terrorist group. In addition to being carried out by an unrecognized rebel organization, the election violated a September 5th ceasefire agreement that was signed by not only Ukraine and the separatists, but also by Russia. Though the separatists believe the election will allow them to break eastern Ukraine away from the west, and exert political control over the area, officials in Kiev will not recognize the election or Zakharchenko’s reign. The Ukrainian government referred to the vote as “rogue” and believes it was encouraged by Russian officials, who have long been accused of funding and controlling separatist actions in Ukraine. Poroshenko said the election was a “farce that is being conducted under the threat of tanks and guns.”

Full Article: Ukrainian Rebels Hold 'Rogue' Election - The Atlantic.

Ukraine: Europe, Russia at odds over early eastern Ukraine elections | The Age

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone that elections planned for Sunday in eastern Ukraine were illegitimate and would not be recognised by European leaders, a Berlin government spokesman said on Friday. Ms Merkel and Mr Putin held a joint telephone conversation with French President Francois Hollande and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Ms Merkel’s spokesman Georg Streiter said at a government news conference. He said in the call there were diverging opinions on Sunday’s “so-called elections” in the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. “Merkel and Hollande underlined that there can only be a ballot in line with Ukrainian law,” he said, adding that the vote would violate an agreement endorsed by Russia and further complicate efforts to end the crisis in eastern Ukraine. Sunday’s separatist poll is aimed at electing leaders and a parliament in a self-proclaimed autonomous republic.

Full Article: Europe, Russia at odds over early eastern Ukraine elections.

Germany: Eurosceptics eye new election gains | Reuters

Germany’s new eurosceptic party is poised to make strong gains in two regional elections this weekend, ratcheting up pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel who faces a threat on her right flank for the first time since taking power nine years ago. The small but fast-growing Alternative for Germany (AfD) poached thousands of votes from Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) in an election in Saxony two weeks ago, winning nearly 10 percent of the vote there with a focus on law-and-order policies and conservative values. It could repeat the trick in two other eastern states — Thuringia and Brandenburg — on Sunday. “Merkel has brought stability to the German economy and that has kept the conservatives in the CDU quiet,” said politics professor Nils Diederich at Berlin’s Free University. “But if the CDU starts losing votes, Merkel could come under pressure.” The threat from the AfD is not immediate. Merkel enjoys record popularity ratings of over 70 percent and is the undisputed leader of her party and government after leading the CDU to its strongest performance since reunification in a federal election last year.

Full Article: German eurosceptics eye new election gains | Mail Online.

Germany: Anti-euro party enters state parliament in Saxony elections | Deutsche Welle

Preliminary results show that as predicted, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s incumbent conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) won Saturday’s state election in Saxony, receiving 39 percent of the votes and up to 59 of the 132 seats. This means Premier Stanislaw Tillich will continue to govern, but will need to seek out a new coalition partner, with the liberal FDP party receiving only 3.7 percent of the votes – failing to clear the 5 percent hurdle required for parliamentary representation. The eurosceptic Alternative for Germany party (AfD) won 10 percent of the vote. The AfD, with lead candidate Frauke Petry (pictured top), has capitalized on voter concerns about asylum seekers in its campaign. The party only narrowly failed to enter the national parliament and the state assembly in Hesse last year. It did, however, manage to garner seven seats in the European Parliament at elections in May. The right-wing, populist party drew voters away from the extreme-right National Democratic Party (NPD), whose re-entry into the state parliament is still unclear.

Full Article: German anti-euro party enters state parliament in Saxony elections | News | DW.DE | 31.08.2014.

Germany: Raising The Bar For Participation? The German SPD Membership Ballot | Social Europe Journal

It was an interesting and promising experiment: In December 2013 the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) asked its members to vote on the question of a possible grand coalition with the German Christian Democrats of Angela Merkel. And within as well as outside of the party many observers had been questioning if this procedure was such a good idea. A broad and fundamental discussion arose about the planned party ballot and whether the mere 475.000 members of one political party should, in the end, be able to decide if a planned national government could materialize. And don’t forget about the question of wether the usual procedures of a parliamentary democracy can easily be extended with more direct and participatory forms of decision-making. A big part of the guessing game on a possible outcome of the membership vote was due to the fact that any survey could only focus on people sympathizing with the SPD but not directly on the members themselves. Only the party leadership holds the address list of party members and running a poll over the whole population just to filter the voting SPD members out would have been far too costly. The result was that until the party ballot was held nobody really had an idea what the outcome would be and therefore about the consequences for the SPD, any new government run by Angela Merkel, and for German democracy in general.

Full Article: Raising The Bar For Participation? The German SPD Membership Ballot.

Germany: MPs elect Merkel as chancellor for third term | AFP

Germany’s parliament elected Angela Merkel as chancellor for a third term Tuesday, ending nearly three months of uncertainty since elections that forced her to seek a ‘grand coalition’ with her rivals. Merkel, 59, who is now set to govern Europe’s top economy for another four years, was re-elected by 462 members of the Bundestag lower house of parliament, with 150 voting against and nine abstentions. “I accept the election result and thank you for your trust,” said Merkel, dressed in a black trouser suit, having accepted a bunch of flowers before shaking the hands of supporters. Eighty-six days after she swept to victory in general elections but failed to grab an outright majority, the Bundestag vote, although secret, came as no surprise.

Full Article: German MPs elect Merkel as chancellor for third term.