Angela Merkel Losing Power In Germany
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is fighting to retain power and could lose her seat within the next few days as her government appears on the brink of implosion over immigration in Germany. The political crisis stems from a revolt over Merkel’s “open-door” migration policy which she declared in 2015 to aid Syrian refugees. This policy led to a surge of over 1 to 2 million migrants from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East into Germany and its European Union (EU) neighbors which set off a plethora of issues including, housing, employment, and crime.
German MP Kai Whittaker indicated “We are in a serious situation because the question of the migration crisis evolved into a power question”. “The question is who is leading the Government? Is it Angela Merkel or is it Horst Seehofer?” When asked what Mekel and Seehofer are clashing over, he replied “We don’t know really. There is a master plan to solve the migration crisis, which consists of 63 ideas of Horst Seehofer.”
The political battle has Merkel against Interior Minister Seehofer, the leader of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) party. Seehofer plans to order German border guards to refuse entry to migrants who have already registered in other European countries. He has also pushed for police forces to have the power to turn away undocumented migrants at the border. This would entail a major shift from the EU’s Schengen zone principle which erases border controls like passport checks between member nations which Merkel has indicated she will not tolerate.
Seehofer’s party, based in conservative Bavaria, faces a tough challenge from far-right parties in state elections this October. “We must finally secure our borders effectively,” Bavarian CSU leader Markus Soder tweeted last week. “This, of course, includes rejection. Asylum tourism must be terminated. Germany cannot wait endlessly for Europe; but must act independently.”
The political instability of the German government could set in motion the breakup of the EU. According to Paul Mason, a left-wing commentator speaking on BBC’s Politics Europe, stated Merkel’s instability, sparked following a migration debate, could become a nightmare scenario for Europe. The German leader will then face a choice between a humiliating climbdown on migration policy or firing her interior minister, which would likely trigger a government collapse. Mason explained “I think the big danger in all of our nightmares whether you are pro or anti-European Union, the nightmare is that it breaks up in an uncontrollable way. The way it does that is if the Merkel government falls and switches to the right, as the Austrian government did. Alexander Dobrindt, the leader of the CSU, the sister party of Merkel’s, has come out very strongly with this Austrian and Italian line and that is undermining Merkel’s authority.”
Merkel has been in power since 2005, however, she has struggled to maintain power in recent years. Centrist and liberal parties have lost seats in the last round of September elections to far-right parties which strongly oppose her immigration policies. A poll published last Thursday found that 86% of Germans are in favor of stricter borders controls for immigrants seeking asylum. Tensions have been running high in the wake of the May 22 rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl, allegedly at the hands of a 20-year-old asylum seeker who fled back to Iraq to avoid arrest.
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