Angela Merkel’s electoral headache
By Desmond Lachman
An electoral poll released yesterday is likely to keep Angela Merkel awake at night in the run-up to the September 22 German elections. It showed that the newly formed Alternative for Germany Party, whose sole electoral platform issue is to take Germany out of the Euro, could garner sufficient votes in the election to take it past the 5% threshold for representation in the Bundestag. The poll also showed that 29% of the electorate might consider voting for the new party in the future.
The rise in the fortunes of the Alternative for Germany Party is significant in that it can prevent Angela Merkel from forming a new government with her existing coalition on her own terms. It is also significant for the way she is likely to handle the Euro crisis in the five remaining months before the election. Fearing a further syphoning of votes away from her party towards a party promising a German exit from the Euro, Mrs. Merkel will find herself in no position to heed the calls from Southern Europe for a softening in the German line on the Euro crisis. In particular, one must expect that Mrs. Merkel will be unreceptive to calls for an easing of the budget austerity being imposed on the European periphery. One must also expect that she will be increasingly reluctant to support any early moves towards a European banking union.