ANGELA Merkel attempted to build a government on Monday after narrowly securing a fourth term as chancellor, begging the centre-left Social Democrats, not the shut the door on a re-run of their “grand coalition”.
Damaged by her decision two years ago to allow more than ONE MILLION migrants into Germany, Merkel’s conservative CDU secured 33 percent of the vote, losing 8.5 points – its lowest level since 1949.
Her coalition partners, the centre-left Social Democrats, also slumped and said they would go into opposition to try to limit the damage.
Voters flocked to the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), the first ‘far-right’ party to enter the German parliament in more than half a century. However, the AfD is more similar to UKIP than the Nazi party as the mainstream media would have you believe.
Many Germans see the rise of the AfD as a similar rejection of the status quo as votes for Brexit and Donald Trump last year. But it was the former ‘East Germany’ that caused Merkel’s share of the vote to collapse.
Now Mrs Merkel knows what it is like to be Theresa May after her party remained the biggest parliamentary party without a majority to govern alone.
The much weaker leader tried to keep her coalition options open on Monday, saying she would start talks with the Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens as well as the SPD.
SPD leader Martin Schulz said earlier his party had no choice but to go into opposition “to defend democracy against those who question it and attack it,” in other words to prevent the democratic vote of many angry Germans.
This is after they dropped to a post-war low of 20.5 percent.
“I heard the SPD’s words, nevertheless we should remain in contact,” Merkel pleaded at a news conference. “I think all parties have a responsibility to ensure that there will be a stable government.”
Merkel made clear she still intended to serve a full four years as chancellor. But her next coalition could be her toughest yet with her only remaining potential partners, the business-friendly FDP and the pro-regulation Greens, at odds on issues from migrants to tax, the environment and Europe.