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What the Big Jolt to Germany's Merkel Means to U.S., Russia, Greece

Image: What the Big Jolt to Germany's Merkel Means to U.S., Russia, Greece

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AP)

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Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 10:27 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Little-noticed by the U.S. and the world until a few days ago, the German elections Sunday dealt a major jolt to Chancellor Angela Merkel and her ruling CDU-CSU (Conservative) Party.

With the final result still incomplete, Merkel is likely to remain chancellor in the next government — albeit with the ranks of her party in the Bundestag (parliament) plummeting from 38 percent in 2013 to 32 percent Sunday. The showing of Merkel's party was its worst since 1949.

More dramatically, the SPD (Social Democrats), Merkel's partner in a "grand coalition," dropped to its lowest showing (20.4 percent) since the first elections in the former West Germany after World War II.

All signs from SPD leader Martin Schulz Sunday were that they would not join with Merkel in another coalition. For the chancellor known as "Iron Angie," this likely points to an alliance with the environmentalist Greens and the Free Democrats (libertarians) — who are likely to want stricter terms under which Greece is to repay its loan from the European Central Bank.

But with the biggest winner being the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party — more than tripling its support from four percent in '13 to 13.5 percent Sunday — it must be said that Vladimir Putin also emerged as a big winner in the Germany elections. The AfD has long advocated closer ties between Berlin and Moscow.

Merkel has flatly ruled out any role in her government for the AfD, citing its brass-knuckled rhetoric about her policy of admitting refugees and suggestions of its leaders that Germany has apologized enough for World War II.

"The AfD's showing and the seats they will hold in the Bundestag [parliament] will make a huge difference in rhetoric and psychology," Martin Klingst, senior editor of the German publication "Die Ziet," told us, "Germany's image might well suffer when you publicly hear AfD Members speaking in Parliament, and more so if AfD Members move into some parliamentarian positions, like committee chairs. They will then play a more official role in German politics."

Klingst believes that "other countries will closely watch how this is going to evolve. And you will certainly hear foreign voices of concern. But you will probably also see the other parties moving closer together on certain issues regarding Germany's democracy and social and political coherence."

Regarding the Greek debt, Klingst and other observers are certain that a Merkel-led government will grow much more demanding if the Free Democrats become their partners.

"The Free Democrats will insist on pressing other countries with the Euro currency to reform and take a harder line on debt," he said, "One of their top people, Alexander von Lambsdorff [whose uncle Otto Graf Lamsdorff was economics minister from 1977-82], who could be in the next government, has lately threatened Greece again and suggested that they better leave before tearing down others. The Free Democrats are also very much opposed to communalizing any debts."

As for the U.S., most German experts we spoke to don't believe a different kind of government will change Merkel's relationship with President Trump.

"But here I beg to differ," Katerina Sokou, Washington D.C., bureau chief for the venerable Greek publication Kathemerini told Newsmax. "Merkel will try to work with Trump and this will be easier to do without Schulz in a coalition."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Little-noticed by the U.S. and the world until a few days ago, the German elections Sunday dealt a major jolt to Chancellor Angela Merkel and her ruling CDU-CSU (Conservative) Party.With the final result still incomplete, Merkel is likely to remain chancellor in the next...
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, conservative party
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2017-27-24
Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 10:27 PM
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