The Rolling Stones song ‘Angie’ sums up the mood of a growing number of German people. Ms Merkel has been doing it tough in regional elections although she is out of the trough in the polls post the terror events on home soil.
When will those dark clouds all disappear
Where will you lead us from here
With no lovin’ in our souls
And no money in our coats
You can’t say we’re satisfied
You can’t say we never tried
Angie, you’re beautiful
But ain’t it time we say goodbye
Angie, we still love you
Remember all those nights we cried
All the dreams were held so close
Seemed to all go up in smoke
Let me whisper in your ear
After the predictions of Brexit and a Trump presidency in the case of Germany Merkel will probably manage to scrape home. Opposition parties such as the conservative Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) are fast gaining momentum but the likelihood is that they are far too in their infancy to have the track record to seize power. Large spoiler for sure. The German economy is managing to hold up inside a broken European Union even if their rosy unemployment stats hide the fact the public service has bloated from 8% of the total workforce in 2006 to over 16% in 2015.
Think of the coming German elections in 2017 as more like Australia’s recent federal election where Liberal Party PM Malcolm Turnbull scraped home with the protest vote going to smaller parties such as Pauline Hanson’s conservative One Nation Party. Merkel will have to tone down her liberal rhetoric (which has already begun re accepting asylum seekers). Her power will be greatly cut back as she is forced to pander to the reduced majority and harder line elements the results of recent state elections have borne out clearly.
Once again Obama’s endorsements (Remain, Clinton) have tended to be a curse. Although the Germans are socialist at heart (much like the Japanese) and will probably give Chancellor Merkel a fourth shot. If the German economy had been truly in the dumps then she would be toast but that is all that is really holding her popularity together. Actually she should be more worried that German celebrities are lining up to support her given the track record of the stars in the UK and US.
France is a different matter. Many French I speak to do not believe that Front National’s Marine Le Pen stands a chance. Well the Sunday results blow that myth out of the water. After the litany of tragic events – Charlie Hebdo, Paris and Nice – many French have had enough of the Hollande presidency which has done little to solve the domestic crisis. Many center-right candidates are espousing anti-immigration rhetoric now in an attempt to appeal as softer/subtler forms of Marine Le Pen’s. A bit of a diet-Coke version of nationalism. Better a hand that openly looks to clamp down on the socialist progressive pandering to that of open and abandonment of political correctness. Sarkozy’s drubbing shows how sick the French are to the ‘establishment’. Le Pen offers real change. Don’t bet against her.
Austria’s rerun of the farcical election should see the right wing FPO’s Norbert Hofer take the presidency. The voter fraud and nepotism at the last election would mean that people see through the actions and drain their swamp. The Austrians are also likely to send Mr Juncker a terse message that sovereign democracy comes before bowing to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. At the last election Juncker told the Austrians that if they democratically voted in Hofer they would lose member state votes and transfer payments.
Merkel may get back in power but I doubt Germans will vote for her as an attempt to keep liberal values alive. It will be more to do with a lack of alternatives.