Angela Merkel’s fault! German Chancellor to blame for election disaster as legacy rocked

Angela Merkel may face 'disaster' in elections says expert

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Hans-Olaf Henkel also pointed the finger at European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who served under Mrs Merkel as her Defence Minister before becoming President of the European Union, for “cocking-up” the bloc’s response. Mr Henkel, 81, who stepped down from the European Parliament in 2019, was speaking at the end of a disastrous week for the Chancellor’s party, which slumped to 22.9 percent of the vote in the Baden-Wuerttemberg state legislature election, and 26 percent in neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate.

The poor results leave Mrs Merkel’s party in a difficult position just months before September’s federal elections – with newly elected leader Armin Laschet, who is in pole position to succeed the 66-year-old when she steps down later this year.

Mr Henkel, who as well as having been an MEP was also the president of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) between 1995 and 2000, told “The CDU achieved record lows in both regional elections consolidating the disastrous performance under Merkel‘s almost 16-year long leadership.

“While the new party leader Laschet can rightfully claim that he was not long enough in the job – barely two months – to take responsibility, it will boost the chances of Markus Soeder, the leader of the CSU, the CDU’s sister party eventually becoming the candidate of the CDU/CSU for chancellorship at the elections in the fall of this year.”

Turning his attention to what had gone wrong, Mr Henkel said: “The main reasons for the sudden dropping of the CDU‘s popularity has a lot to do with Merkel‘s handling of the COVID 19 crisis.

“It was her who forced the German Government to abdicate the responsibility for purchasing sufficient quantities of vaccines from Berlin to Brussels.”

He added: “In the view of many German voters, Von der Leyen, EU‘s German President and Merkel‘s confident, cocked it all up.

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“While Germany was regarded to be a model at the beginning of the crisis and much ahead of Britain, the country is now behind many other European countries is getting its population vaccinated.

“On top came the news that at least two members of the German Bundestag of the CDU and CSU cashed in hundreds of thousands of euros as agent‘s fees by helping dealers to sell COVID-19 masks to the Government.”

In considering the implications for Mrs Merkel, who has been Germany’s Chancellor for almost 16 years, Mr Henkel claimed the CDU’s plight suggested Mrs Merkel was “not only unable to but unwilling to surround herself with competent people”.

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He said: “I see not one person in her cabinet who I would have entrusted with the management of the smallest branch office IBM ever had when I was President of IBM Europe.

“That‘s why her arch-enemy Friedrich Merz, who lost twice the contest for succeeding her, is the only winner of yesterday’s election in the CDU.

“His influence will rise, and he will play an important role in both the party and in the next Federal Government.”

Mr Henkel added: “The result also shows that Merkel‘s legacy will move more and more from propaganda to reality.”

The Chancellor would be remembered for being a good European, for her championing of human rights and environmental issues, and for her commitment to open markets, he acknowledged.

However, he continued: “She will also be remembered for her out-of-control immigration policy, for piling up record debts, letting the eurozone become a platform for bailing out poorly managed country budgets, for damaging Germany‘s competitiveness through a chaotic energy policy, for ruining her party, for letting the right-wing AfD rise to her current position, for cocking up the COVID-19 crisis and, worst of all, for Britain having to leave the EU.”

A poll of 5,080 German undertaken by Civey in the wake of the elections suggested Mr Laschet may struggle in his quest to succeed Mrs Merkel.

Overall, 73.5 percent of respondents indicated they did not think Mr Laschet was the right candidate to replace Mrs Merkel, with only 14.7 feeling he has what it takes.

Among CDU voters specifically, the results were scarcely any more encouraging – 72.5 percent felt he was not the right person, compared with just 16.4 percent who thought he fitted the bill.

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