We might be witnessing the inglorious final days of Angela Merkel’s chancellorship.
Municipal elections in the region of Hessen are normally not an event that captures Europe-wide attention, but the outcome of last Sunday’s poll is indicative of a revolutionary mood that cannot be explained by the good or bad performance of the mayor or town council in this or that city. The tendency was uniform, and it was disastrous not only for the Christian Democrats and the Socialists who together form the Federal Government, but also for the Greens and the Left. The big winner is the Euro-sceptic and anti-immigration party “Alternative für Deutschland”. The message is clear: these elections were not on local issues, but on Angela Merkel’s policy on immigration.
There will be elections in three German regions next Sunday, and in all three cases the opinion polls are devastating for Christian Democrats and Socialists, predicting them an aggregated loss of 15 percent points or more.
If such are going to be the results, the conclusion for the Christian Democrats will be inevitable: they will continue suffering such defeats in every election and at every level, unless they get rid of Mrs. Merkel. With her as the leader, no turn-around seems possible. The immigration crisis will continue, and it will sharpen. And Mrs. Merkel shows no sign of insight that here policy might have been wrong. And even if she did show such insight, it would not help her any more: a sudden shift of position would only cause further damage to her credibility. The only realistic hope for her to remain in power is that a majority of Germans suddenly discover that uncontrolled mass-immigration by unskilled Muslims, some of which may have close ties to terrorist groups, is just what their country needs.
This is not going to happen.
But the problem is: who will replace her? In her more than 15 years as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), she has so completely voided the party of all conservative and Christian identity markers that it is now a group without clear identity, without point of reference, without a common purpose save that of clinging to power. And she has so successfully eliminated all real or perceived competitors that there is no one to pick up the spoils after her departure.
Mrs. Merkel’s demise will also be the downfall of the CDU.