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victory for chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats (CDU)

2. German elections : good or bad news?

in Conflicts 2017 · Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · EN · Euroskepticism · Geopolitics · Nation 2017 · Person 2017 · Politics 2017 · Skepticism 2017 · YOUTUBE 2017 21 views / 1 comments

GERMANY EU

GEOMETR.IT intellinews.com

 

YOUTUBE 2017  Nazi taking floor in Reichstag for 1st time since end of WWII – German FM (EXCLUSIVE)

Under the German proportional representation system the CDU’s “victory” only means they have first dibs on forming a coalition government; the system is so designed that no one party ever wins a clear 51% of the vote and the biggest party has to form coalitions with the other partys and share power. That process can take weeks and there is a great deal of horse trading as the minor partners invited to join a coalition bid for various cabinet positions and concessions to their own electoral agenda.

Following the September 24 results the Socialist Democratic Party (SDP), lead by Martin Schultz, has taken itself out of the game and will not continue the so-called “Grand Coalition” with the CDU. The SDP got off to a good start, briefly challenging the CDU, but due a series of mistakes its momentum fizzled out. The SDP scored its worse result since 1949, taking only 20.5% of the vote.

That means the new government will almost certainly be the so called Jamaica coalition: the CDU’s colour is black and it is likely to share power with the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), which uses yellow as the party colour, and the Green Party – the same colours as the Jamaican flag. This is the first time a Jamaica coalition will be formed at federal level, although both the Greens and the FDP have been in government coalitions before.

The big surprise from the elections was the strong showing of the AfD, which took an unexpected 12.6% of the vote and will enter parliament at the federal level for the first time – it already has seats in 10 of Germany’s 16 regional governments.

The power sharing will colour the government in other ways. While Merkel will set the agenda she will have to make some compromises to her new partners.

In the first place there may be a change is if the Greens are given the foreign minister’s job, following on from Joschka Fischer, who led the Greens and served as foreign minister under SDP premier Gerhard Schroeder’s government from 1998-2005. This possibility is widely expected, with the job falling to the Green Party’s Cem Özdemir, an ethnic Turk.

That would be very bad news for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as Özdemir is likely to be even more critical of Erdogan’s campaign to hobble democratic institutions in Turkey. Known for his stance against Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, Özdemir has also vowed to suspend the German government’s credits given to investors doing import and export with Turkey.

Relations between Turkey and Germany are already fraught as Turkish officials attempted to hold political rallies in Germany ahead of the recent referendum on a new constitution, as the Turkish population in Germany is so big the postal vote from there has a material impact on the results. The Germans have been reluctant to play host to another country’s politics and banned many of these rallies. On the flip side, Ankara called the German ambassador in to protest against a 10,000 strong pro-Kurdish rally in Cologne on September 16 – a bête noir for Erdogan.

During the campaign Merkel stepped up her rhetoric again and said she had decided to seek an end to EU membership talks with Turkey completely during a television debate with Schulz in September.

Relations with Turkey are bound to get worse, even if Merkel doesn’t follow through on her threat, but as a Turk Özdemir may bring some more nuance to the relationship.

The relationship with Russia, however, will probably improve. Though Özdemir has also been firm on sanctions, Christian Lindner, who heads the FDP and will also take one of the top cabinet posts, has said explicitly that he wants reconciliation with Russia. He has suggested that he will concede Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014 and wants to end the sanctions regime – views he shares with the AfD among others.

Lindner is echoing a view that ran through many of the party platforms, except the SDP and CDU, that America is to blame for the Ukrainian conflict and the situation in Syria.

There was also a great deal of Euroscepticism, with several parties calling for a scaling down of Germany’s role or even a revision of the EU treaties.

AfD’s rise is part of a wider trend of rightwing parties winning the ear of more Europeans. The Ukrainians are particularly alarmed at this trend as these rightwing movements are often aligned with Russia.

In Kyiv analysts were unnerved by the German result. “Nationalist parties that are aligned with the Russian government are continuing to ride the anti-immigrant momentum in the West. Combined with other political factors, we could see attempts to relax sanctions over the Ukrainian occupation (as proposed by the Alternative for Germany and Free Democratic Party) at the EU level next year,” Zenon Zawada, an analyst with Concorde Capital in Kyiv said in a note. “Yet the pivotal moment for sanctions against Russia, in our view, will be the 2019 parliamentary elections in Ukraine. A strong performance by Russian-oriented parties could make Europeans more open to relaxing Ukraine-related sanctions.»

This is an increasingly likely scenario as Poroshenko’s popularity has fallen into single digits and his attacks on the civil society that put him into office, coupled with his palpable failure to tackle corruption, mean that he will struggle to keep his job in 2019. At the same time the fiasco of stripping former Odesa governor and ex-Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili of his Ukrainian nationality and his subsequent return to Ukraine has only undermined the president’s authority further. Given that all the opposition leaders expected to run against him are all running neck and neck, according to the latest polls, the chances that a strong pro-Russian candidate becomes the next president of Ukraine is far from inconceivable

Merkel herself, who is famous at home for stealing any idea from any party that she thinks will improve her position, has taken a few steps down this road too. She returned from her last meeting with US President Donald Trump saying that “Europe is on its own now,” a shocking slight on the US president and an extremely unusual statement by a German chancellor, who have traditionally been extremely shy of taking centre stage in international politics.

Finally, the entry of the AfD into federal level politics has driven all of German politics to the right, which is to Russia’s advantage. In the last elections in 2013 the CDU was shy of using the German flag and the main image was simply a picture of Merkel’s hands. This time round the German flag featured prominently in the CDU’s ads and Merkel played on more nationalist themes.

All the political parties have suffered from the AfD’s rise with the CDU losing a million votes to the AfD and the SDP losing half a million. But the party’s problem is it made its biggest gains from taking 1.2mn votes from people that usually don’t vote at all.

That puts AfD on a sandy foundation. It can get the protest out for this election, but it is unlikely they can repeat this success at all elections after this. Moreover, the party is seen to be a one-trick pony, playing on xenophobia and terrorist fears. The AfD has to find a more permanent platform if it is to keep its seats.

The party is actually a two-headed beast founded by self-styled liberal-conservatives, and only later acquired the more radical and racist national-conservative arm. This dichotomy is apparent in the party’s twin chairman structure. While Alex Gauland, who is co-head and represents the national-conservatives, is openly racist and has insulted Oezdemir using racial slurs on the Bundestag’s floor, his co-chair is Alice Weidel, who is a former investment banker and openly gay. It is this softer side of the party that could be used to build a more permanent political machine.

http://www.intellinews.com

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GEOMETR.IT

Вслед за детьми из Молдавии уезжают родители 26.09.2017

Национальные эгоизмы. Реализм дыма. Юнкер 26.09.2017

Мишико на фоне заплеванных форточек 26.09.2017

Czwarty raz Merkel  26.09.2017

German elections : good or bad news?  26.09.2017

Deutschland hat gewählt und was nun?  26.09.2017

GEOMETR.IT

German elections : good or bad news?

in Conflicts 2017 · Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · EN · Euroskepticism · Geopolitics · Nation 2017 · Person 2017 · Politics 2017 · Skepticism 2017 42 views / 5 comments

GERMANY EU

GEOMETR.IT  intellinews.com

 

During the campaign Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had decided to seek an end to EU membership talks with Turkey.

The results from the German general elections are in, giving Chancellor Angela Merkel another four more years in office, and catapulting the extreme rightwing Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) into the Bundestag, but the biggest foreign winner was probably Russian President Vladimir Putin, while the loser was Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On the face of it the win for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) means business as usual. She has led Europe’s efforts to contain and punish Russia for its aggression in Ukraine and is implacably committed to seeing the Minsk II process through, despite the fact that all the concrete deadlines in the document signed at a marathon session in Minsk have been missed. The Minsk process is going nowhere.

However, more recently the German government seems to be softening its hard-line towards Russia, and the new government could be softer still.

Ukraine’s donors are showing signs of “Ukraine fatigue” over the imbroglio that has dragged on for three years now. Former foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier tried to break the deadlock with a formula that awarded concessions for progress on specific steps. More recently his Social Democrat successor Sigmar Gabriel has also been more pro-actively engaging with Russia and even gave Kremlin-sponsored broadcaster RT two interviews just before the elections.

“I’m convinced we need a new detente with Russia, despite the very complicated disputes over the Crimea, and the situation in Ukraine. We cannot tackle global problems without working with Russia,” he said in most recent interview.

As an aside, one of the biggest non-stories of these elections was the complete absence of Russian interference in the campaigns. There were no reports of hacks, funding, or other machinations in the vote, which is not to say that Russia has done nothing but there has been no large-scale attempt to sway voters. Indeed, there was no sign of Russian interference in the recent UK or French elections either – the head of France’s cyber-security service (ANSSI) said the one email dump was probably done by an individual acting alone.

But while the management of German government will remain the same the support staff will be changed.

Under the German proportional representation system the CDU’s “victory” only means they have first dibs on forming a coalition government; the system is so designed that no one party ever wins a clear 51% of the vote and the biggest party has to form coalitions with the other partys and share power. That process can take weeks and there is a great deal of horse trading as the minor partners invited to join a coalition bid for various cabinet positions and concessions to their own electoral agenda.

http://www.intellinews.com

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GEOMETR.IT

World. О вразумлении грешников  25.09.2017

Theresa May Speech at United Nations General Assembly  25.09.2017

Мишико на фоне заплеванных форточек 25.09.2017

Германия. Победил блок А.Меркель. На него объявили охоту  25.09.2017

Поддержка от Большого брата. Молдову ткнули в 25.09.2017

All eyes on election in Germany  25.09.2017

Der imperiale Konsens 25.09.2017

Deutschland. Eine Bunte Jamaica-Regierung  25.09.2017

GEOMETR.IT

All eyes on election in Germany

in Conflicts 2017 · Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · EN · Geopolitics · Nation 2017 · Person 2017 · Politics 2017 · Skepticism 2017 17 views / 3 comments

GEOMETR.IT  qz.com

 

 

Germany’s federal election Sunday is officially over. According to exit polls from public broadcaster ARD, Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has won, scooping 32.7 % of the nation’s vote.

Merkel’s closest rival for the chancellery, Martin Schulz, and his Social Democrats (SPD) had it worst result in decades, winning just 20%.

Exit polls came out at 6pm, and will be followed by an initial projection (“Hochrechnung”) by statisticians. The final results will come in the early hours of Europe’s Monday morning, but these initial counts have historically been accurate.

German election exit poll: Eyes are on Merkel’s next coalition

Data: ARD exit poll

The Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), which was polling at up to 13% in the days leading up to the election came in third place with 13.5%. That makes them the first radical right party to enter the federal parliament in 56 years. The AfD was set up during the euro crisis in 2013, and pivoted to focus on migration, running a nationalistic anti-refugee, anti-Islam campaign.

The pro-business Free Democratic Party can now put its four years in the wilderness behind it. After crashing out of the Bundestag (German lower house of parliament) in the 2013 federal election, today the FDP nailed 10.5%, comfortably clearing the minimum 5% needed to enter the parliament.

Two other contenders who had been fighting for third place, the Greens and the Die Linke (Left), won 9.5% and 9% respectively.

Were the pre-election polls accurate in Germany? The CDU and its sister party were predicted to pull in between 34% and 37%, and have lost voters. The Social Democrats were limping far behind at around 20%—and that’s what the exit polls say they achieved.

Some 61.5 million people were eligible to vote, and 75% of them cast their ballots today. This was up slightly from the 71.5% voter turnout for the last election. Around 10% of all eligible voters in Germany are of migrant origin. In the wake of the Britain’s decision to leave the EU, almost 3,000 British citizens got German nationality last year. Some of them told The Guardian how thrilled they were to be able to have a voice in the German election.

https://qz.com

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GEOMETR.IT

Украина. Академик Вернадский: Земля — земледельцу!  21.09.2017

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Поддержка от Большого брата. Молдова уткнулась носом в … 21.09.2017

Еврей говорит Украинцу: НЕ ПРОДАВАЙ землю ! 21.09.2017

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Wybory w Niemczech/Co czekaty ?  21.09.2017

Bundeswahl: Vorsprung Merkels vor Schulz 21.09.2017

Germany’s Election: Where the Real Battle Is 21.09.2017

GEOMETR.IT

Merkel. Third is the new first

in Conflicts 2017 · Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · EN · Geopolitics · Nation 2017 · Person 2017 · Politics 2017 · Skepticism 2017 20 views / 2 comments

GEOMETR.IT politico.eu

 

With less than a month to go in Germany’s election campaign, third place has become the most sought-after prize.

Angela Merkel’s center-right bloc has held a lead of about 15 percentage points across a variety of polls for weeks. The Social Democrats, under Martin Schulz, may yet close the gap, but history suggests they have virtually no chance of winning.

The battle for third place, however, is anything but over. A cluster of parties, including the far-left Die Linke, the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), the Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) are in a dead heat, all polling in the 7-10 percent range.

Leaders from all four parties are set to square off in the campaign’s first televised debateon Wednesday night.

Finishing third is about more than bragging rights. Indeed, the real battle for Germany’s future may well depend on it.

After years of a grand coalition, the conservatives and Social Democrats have become so similar in worldview that many voters have difficulty distinguishing between them. The contest between Merkel and Schulz, who are in broad agreement on the most pressing issues of the day, is primarily one of style not substance.

Not so for the rest of the field. In fact, they could hardly be more different, with Die Linke espousing communist-era prescriptions such as nationalizing core industries and the FDP pushing for fewer restrictions on capital. The populist AfD, meanwhile, wants tighter controls on asylum and migration, policies anathema to the Greens and other small parties. 

“First and foremost, [third place] carries symbolic value” — Oskar Niedermayer  

A strong third-place finish by the FDP or the Greens would vastly improve their chances of joining a coalition government. Some political analysts believe the election could lead to a “Jamaica coalition” — a combination of Merkel’s conservatives, the FDP and the Greens (referred to as such because the parties’ respective colors are black, yellow and green). If either the Free Democrats or the Greens finish third, they would have a considerable advantage in negotiating for key cabinet posts.

While the AfD and Die Linke have little chance of joining the next government (Merkel’s Christian Democrats have ruled out cooperating with either), finishing third could give them the prestige of leading the opposition. A third-place finish by either party could also derail a Jamaica combination, improving the chances of a reprisal of the grand coalition between the conservatives and Social Democrats.

“First and foremost, [third place] carries symbolic value,” said Oskar Niedermayer, a political scientist at Berlin’s Free University. “The party can always point out that it’s the strongest opposition force if it comes to a grand coalition.”

With less than a month to go in Germany’s election campaign, third place has become the most sought-after prize.

Angela Merkel’s center-right bloc has held a lead of about 15 percentage points across a variety of polls for weeks. The Social Democrats, under Martin Schulz, may yet close the gap, but history suggests they have virtually no chance of winning.

The battle for third place, however, is anything but over. A cluster of parties, including the far-left Die Linke, the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), the Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) are in a dead heat, all polling in the 7-10 percent range.

Leaders from all four parties are set to square off in the campaign’s first televised debateon Wednesday night.

Finishing third is about more than bragging rights. Indeed, the real battle for Germany’s future may well depend on it.

After years of a grand coalition, the conservatives and Social Democrats have become so similar in worldview that many voters have difficulty distinguishing between them. The contest between Merkel and Schulz, who are in broad agreement on the most pressing issues of the day, is primarily one of style not substance.

Not so for the rest of the field. In fact, they could hardly be more different, with Die Linke espousing communist-era prescriptions such as nationalizing core industries and the FDP pushing for fewer restrictions on capital. The populist AfD, meanwhile, wants tighter controls on asylum and migration, policies anathema to the Greens and other small parties.

That said, Die Linke, which finished third by a slim margin in 2013, was unable to capitalize on its role as opposition leader. Political analysts say that was due in part to the dominance of the grand coalition, which controls about 80 percent of the seats in parliament, making it difficult for the opposition to have its voice heard.

That seems set to change after the coming election with the likely addition of both the AfD and the FDP, expanding the number of parties represented in the Bundestag from five to seven.

Yet several of the smaller parties suffer from a disadvantage that will be harder to fix — internal divisions. Die Linke, the AfD and even the Greens have struggled to overcome years of debate over their parties’ direction. The AfD leadership, for example, has been in open warfare for months, a significant factor in its dwindling popularity.

Due in part to those rifts, parties such as Die Linke and the AfD have put forward not just one Spitzenkandidat (lead candidate), as the large parties do, but two. The Greens also have two leaders, but for reasons of gender parity.

The problem with this approach is that it muddies the party’s message and leaves voters without a clear understanding of who is in charge.

“It’s particularly bad with Die Linke,” said Niedermayer, adding that in addition to the two lead candidates, the party also has two leaders who have strong voices. “That creates a mix that doesn’t allow many potential Linke voters to vote … on the basis of the Spitzenkandidat. Who should they vote for when no one really knows who’s running things?”

In contrast, the business-friendly Free Democrats have put their money on a single horse — party leader Christian Lindner. The party’s entire election campaign is focused on the youthful Lindner, whose face has been plastered on billboards across the country.

While the one-man show has drawn scorn from some quarters and inspired a series of memes, it appears to be working. The FDP, which hit a low of just 2 percent in the polls less than three years ago, has led the race for third in some recent surveys. What’s more, Lindner’s personal approval ratings are well above those of the other small parties. He’s even overtaken Schulz, who until recently many observers believed had a good chance of unseating Merkel.

Victor Brechenmacher contributed to this article.

http://www.politico.eu 

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GEOMETR.IT

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GEOMETR.IT

WHO’S AHEAD IN THE ELECTION IN GERMANY

in Conflicts 2017 · Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · EN · Geopolitics · Nation 2017 · Person 2017 · Politics 2017 · Skepticism 2017 17 views / 3 comments

GERMANY  EU

GEOMETR.IT thecrosstab.com

 

Germany’s current center-right governing coalition, the Union party made up of the Cristian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union, is entering its 12th year in power. Will Angela Merkel lead her party into the next decade, marking 20 years of her rule, or will she fall to the Social Democrats? We’ll update you every day until election day on September 24th, 2017.

CURRENT ODDS:

 

SPD (Martin Schulz)

Social Democratic Party

Polling Average: 24.3% 

Win Probability: 11.4% 

AfD (Frauke Petry)

Alternative for Germany

Polling Average: 9.41% 

Win Probability: 0.06% 

Die Linke (Katja Kipping)

The Left

Polling Average: 9.71% 

Win Probability: 0% 

Die Grünen (Simone Peter)

Alliance ’90/The Greens

Polling Average: 7.17% 

Win Probability: 0% 

FDP (Christian Lindner)

Free Democratic Party

Polling Average: 8.83% 

Win Probability: 0.03% 

ODDS OVER TIME

Of course, today’s probabilities aren’t the only forecasts we can generate. Here’s a look at how the candidates’ chances have evolved over time. Although these chances look rocky now, look for them to settle as we get closer to September 24th.

The win probabilities above are generated from each candidates’ projected performance in the election. Here’s a range of what is possible for each candidate.

A look at those polled vote shares have evolved since Jan. 1,2017:

http://www.thecrosstab.com

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GEOMETR.IT

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GEOMETR.IT

1. Germany’s Election: Where the Real Battle Is

in Conflicts 2017 · Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · EN · Euroskepticism · Geopolitics · Nation 2017 · Politics 2017 · Skepticism 2017 31 views / 3 comments

GEOMETR.IT realclearworld.com

 

The third-place finisher stands to have a great impact on German policy

Angela Merkel will win the German elections for the fourth time in a row. With less than two weeks remaining until Election Day on Sept. 24, the gap between Merkel and her top challenger, Martin Schulz of the Social Democrats, or SPD, is more than 15 percent, according to the latest polls. In Germany’s politics, which tend away from volatility, this is an almost unbridgeable gap. Unlike in the French or Dutch elections earlier this year, right-wing populists, represented here by the Alternative for Germany, or AfD, do not play a significant role.

But there is still plenty of excitement in this election. The main contest in Germany is for who comes in third: That party will probably serve as coalition partner for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union for the next four years and from that position will deeply influence Germany’s political course.

Participating in Angela Merkel’s government as junior partner is a risky business. When she came to power in 2005 her opponents — and her partners — greatly underestimated her persistence, her political sense, her agility and stamina. She eliminates her political opposition by seeming to take over the distinctive points of their political agendas and make them her own — no other politician has mastered this art like Merkel has.

She ends up laying claim to the successes of her coalition partners, and there are plenty of examples, including Germany’s abandonment of nuclear energy in 2011 and the introduction of a minimum wage four years later. Merkel’s main challenger, the SPD, has joined Merkel twice in a so-called grand coalition: the first time between 2005 and 2009, and again in the current government. On both occasions, the SPD has been unable to develop a distinctive profile under Merkel’s large political wings. Joining her fourth government could be an act of great self-harm for the SPD. The party would risk being completely marginalized, thus sharing the fate of many of its social-democratic sister parties in Western Europe.

That means it is all about who comes in third: Merkel will need that party to form the needed majority for her fourth reign. Four parties are in the race for that position: the Greens, the economic-liberal FDP party, the socialist Linke, and the far-right, populist AfD. Polling between 5 percent and 10 percent of the votes, these parties are fighting a zero-sum battle. Acquire less than 5 percent and your party is out of parliament, falling short of the electoral threshold. Score 10 percent, and you may be the dealmaker in the next German government.

The two most likely candidates for a junior partnership in Merkel 4 are the Greens and the FDP — and perhaps both. Governing with the socialist Linke or the far-right AfD seems unlikely in a nation that hews to the political center.

The choice between placing the Greens or the FDP in government, however, makes a huge difference for Germany’s political course. If the Greens join, Germany probably maintains its humanitarian open border policy, speeds up the sustainability goals for the energy sector and industry, strengthens the social welfare state, and pursues idealistic foreign policy goals. As head of this coalition, Merkel, who is already seen as a rather leftist chancellor, will struggle to keep conservative support in her own party.

http://www.realclearworld.com

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 GEOMETR.IT

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Niemcy: W internecie  20.09.2017

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GEOMETR.IT

2. Election in Germany. Vanity Fair

in Conflicts 2017 · Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · EN · Geopolitics · Nation 2017 · Person 2017 27 views / 3 comments

GEOMETR.IT  vanityfair.com

 

“She’s very popular among the German people, but she doesn’t appreciate the German people so much. She doesn’t have much trust in them,” says another biographer, Ralph Bollmann, of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the leading conservative daily.

“She had an enthusiastic image of the state of West Germany, that the people were very dynamic there, were oriented to compete; it was a long and hard process to learn that Germans are not like that.” According to Bollmann, the chancellor treats the German electorate—which recently gave Merkel a 74 percent approval rating—“as if they were children.” Her nickname in Germany is Mutti, or Mommy. (A sticker on a litter can outside my Berlin hotel said, “Be careful. Mutti is watching you.”)

Thus, her mantras: There are no problems, but rather “tasks” to be resolved using the scientific method of imagining every possible outcome. Take small steps. Explain very little. “For me, it is always important that I go through all the possible options for a decision,” Merkel said in a TV interview last summer. The process is rigorous. Merkel, adept at rapid texting, sits in Germany’s Parliament, the Bundestag, say observers, and frequently texts to an exclusive network of informal advisers who feed her information during the proceedings. (Her tight inner circle is led by two women, known as the “girls’ camp.”) After meticulously making a decision, Merkel then must decide how much “reality” she can spoon out at a time to her ever wary country.

After the Unity Day church ceremony, the diplomats and religious heads boarded buses to Hannover’s Neues Rathaus (New City Hall) to watch a nationally televised commemoration devoted to diversity and the voices of immigrants—a hot topic, since a few days previously smartphone pictures and videos had emerged of two asylum seekers who were abused in a German refugee center. Merkel’s speech was far more direct than usual, observers told me. I thought it might have even been stirring had she not raced through its delivery in a monotone, but it sounded as if she was laying the groundwork for Germany to become more involved in the world.

Barely looking up from the page and not using a teleprompter, Merkel said the threat of terrorism was “a challenge to the entire world—not just the U.S.A., not just the Arab states of the region,” and the battle against it was in “Germany’s interest. Jihadists threaten our security here as well. That is why we take up our responsibility, together with our partners and allies.”

Merkel mentioned that the German military is involved in 17 different international missions, including humanitarian. To an American audience used to exalted talk of making the world safe for democracy and global leadership, the speech would have sounded like complete boilerplate, but to the Merkel tea-leaf readers at the diplomatic reception afterward, there was a definite buzz in the air, as if the chancellor had just given Germany the go-ahead to wake up—slowly, cautiously, meticulously—after seven decades of slumber.

“Did you just hear what I heard?” a high-ranking staff member of the German government asked the current U.S. ambassador, John Emerson. “The times they are a-changing.

In her Unity Day speech Merkel had quoted a German newspaper calling 2014 “a year of pestilence, war, and terror.” Indeed, the past year has hit Merkel like a ton of bricks. For someone who prefers to rule by baby bites, Merkel has had a great deal on her plate.

But 2014, the year Merkel turned 60, changed all that. It brought the crisis in Ukraine, which saw Merkel—not Barack Obama—become the point person in the transatlantic alliance for dealing with Putin; the continued diplomatic fallout from the National Security Agency’s infamous tapping of Merkel’s cell phone, followed by the revelation that the C.I.A. was attempting to recruit spies in the German government; and the war in Gaza, which sparked incidents of German anti-Semitism, causing Merkel to send police to guard synagogues. By early fall Germany had to contend with the news that an estimated 500 isis jihadists had grown up in Germany. For the first time in its postwar history, Germany pledged to send weapons to a foreign country, in this case to Kurdistan in order to help the Kurds fight isis on the Syrian border.

https://www.vanityfair.com

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GEOMETR.IT

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GEOMETR.IT

2. The Elections Matter Not Just for Germany

in Conflicts 2017 · Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · EN · Geopolitics · Nation 2017 · Politics 2017 · Skepticism 2017 12 views / 6 comments

GERMANY EU FRANCE POlAND

GEOMETR.IT  worldview.stratfor.com

 

What’s at Stake for Europe

In Germany, unlike in recent French and Dutch elections, there is little risk that the government will include nationalist or Euroskeptic forces. The AfD likely will win a handful of seats in the Bundestag, but other parties for the most part will refuse to cooperate with it. Meanwhile, The Left will also struggle to find partners, though it could possibly become a member of a broad center-left alliance. But while the German election doesn’t pose the same threat to the stability of the eurozone as did the French or Dutch elections, the next German government’s composition will play an important role in determining the future of the European Union.

Over the past decade, a combination of economic crises and strong nationalist sentiments made institutional reform in the European Union impossible.

Now that most member states are growing again, and as the 2017 electoral season is reaching its end, the political environment for reform has become more favorable. Furthermore, last year’s Brexit referendum convinced most EU members and institutions that reforms are necessary to revitalize the bloc after years of shocks.

As the biggest economy in Europe, Germany will play a significant role in EU reformnegotiations. Thus, the ideological composition of its government will be a crucial piece of the reform puzzle. In recent weeks, France, Italy and Spain each have made reform proposals, including plans to increase blocwide investment and introduce risk-sharing measures in the eurozone.

Italy and Spain have even proposed issuing debt that is jointly backed by all the members of the eurozone. Meanwhile, France said that it will hold off on additional proposals for the eurozone until after the German election, so that Paris and Berlin can discuss the plans together.

Whoever has control in Germany’s parliament will influence the negotiations and eventual compromises made between the northern and southern blocs of the eurozone. If the election results in a center-right coalition led by the CDU, the government would probably take a skeptical view of plans presented by Southern Europe. A center-left coalition led by the SDP, meanwhile, would be more open to them.

But regardless of who is in charge, Germany and other Northern European countries will be reluctant to share risk with their Southern European counterparts. Even though Berlin is not entirely opposed to Southern Europe’s proposals, it will almost certainly request tighter control of fiscal policies in the eurozone — a concession that Southern European countries will resist.

The makeup of the next coalition in Berlin will also influence debates on a variety of other EU issues. For example, Germany falls well short of NATO’s goal that its members spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense, and the CDU is more willing to increase military spending than the SPD. When it comes to Brexit, most German parties align on a few things:

they are in favor of reaching a deal with the United Kingdom, and they agree that the bloc’s future relationship with London should include fewer benefits than EU membership would have granted.

However, London would prefer a CDU-led government to one led by the SPD, given Schulz’s background as former EU Parliament president and his strong defense of the bloc and its institutions.

And it’s not just the two big parties that will affect continental affairs. Depending on the Cabinet positions they are given, junior coalition partners could also shape some of Berlin’s decisions. The FDP, for example, would probably resist the kinds of protectionist moves that France is proposing, while The Left would push for strong government spending and higher taxes for corporations. These parties’ abilities to shape policy will of course be limited, but they should not be completely disregarded.

Germany Tackles a Challenging Future 

Beyond the larger concerns of the European Union, Germany is also facing a number of long-term domestic challenges. And while discussion of those issues has been largely absent in the electoral campaign so far, the country will eventually to have reckon with them.

The German economy has grown at a decent pace in recent years, and unemployment is at record lows. However, as a member of the eurozone, Germany could still be harmed by developments in other countries. For example, the bailout program that helped Greece stabilize its economy is set to expire in mid-2018, and Athens likely will request help to reduce the burden of its sovereign debt. This idea is controversial in Germany, and the FDP has even suggested that Greece leave the eurozone in exchange for debt relief. The Italian general election in early 2018 offers further challenges. There is a real chance that Italian votes will put a euroskeptic government in power, which would create a major roadblock to eurozone reforms.

Germany’s stability could take also hits for reasons more within its control, as the country’s export-driven economy faces pressure from its main trade partners. Southern European countries want Berlin to increase domestic spending to boost imports, and the United States has repeatedly criticized Germany’s massive trade surplus.

A more protectionist stance by the United States, Germany’s main trade partner outside the eurozone, could damage German exports. Moreover, Germany’s flagship industry — its automotive sector — may need to readapt its business model as it faces competition from new technologies and foreign vehicle manufacturers as well as the aftermath of the «dieselgate» emissions test-rigging scandal.

Finally, Germany faces two complex demographic challenges. The first is that its society is becoming more diverse, due to migration from other EU countries and specifically the recent influx of asylum seekers from the Middle East.

This surge in immigration has in turn led to the emergence of nationalist and anti-immigration groups, and though they aren’t as strong as those in other countries like France, they are a growing concern.

The second challenge is the country’s low fertility rates and high life expectancy. The German population will become older and potentially smaller in the coming decades, putting extra pressure on Germany’s health care and pension systems and also possibly causing a labor shortage.

The pressing issues surrounding the Sept. 24 elections will be primarily related to the makeup of the ruling coalition and how that coalition will handle the impending reforms to the European Union. But slippery economic and demographic issues will not disappear, and no matter which party leads the country for the next four years, it will eventually have to face these challenges.

https://worldview.stratfor.com

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GEOMETR.IT

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GEOMETR.IT

1. Election in Germany. Vanity Fair

in Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · EN · Geopolitics · Nation 2017 · Person 2017 21 views / 4 comments

GEOMETR.IT  vanityfair.com

 

As the old Market Church bells tolled in Hannover last October 3 on German Unity Day, commemorating Germany’s re-unification, Angela Merkel walked briskly over the cobblestones and paused at the entryway of the church to greet a few members of a children’s choir, dressed untraditionally in red sweatshirts and black pants. She herself was in her chancellor-of-Germany uniform:

a brightly colored jacket, simple necklace, black pants, and low heels. She had TV pancake makeup on, but her sensible-matron look—cropped, softly colored blond hair, little lipstick—is always carefully calibrated to appear as if she were wearing no makeup at all.

Only a couple of security guards could be seen anywhere in the church; there was no fanfare like the playing of “Hail to the Chief,” and, going up the aisle, she did not pause to shake hands with any of the congregation of 1,200 religious leaders, dignitaries, and diplomats.

To think that only 25 years ago Angela Merkel was a divorced 35-year-old East German physicist specializing in quantum chemistry, who was not allowed to set foot in West Berlin and had never uttered a political opinion in public, was a striking affirmation of both the ability of Germany to recover and her own ability to succeed.

After nine years of her rule, however, many Germans still see her as from the East, not really one of them. They understand that as Merkel plays an ever enlarging role in the world—going head-to-head with Putin, charming China, exasperating and infuriating her European Union partners with her unyielding demands—she, who wants nothing to do with being seen as a “female” leader, has become The Man striding across the global stage. But, even so, Germans seem puzzled by Angela Merkel.

 “She came as an outsider and she stayed an outsider,” Ines Pohl, editor of the Berlin alternative daily, Die Tageszeitung, commonly known as Taz, told me. “She’s spooky, because how can she manage all these things? She’s not really a woman you can love—admire and be proud of, yes. But you always feel her killer instinct.”

“She governs by silence,” says Dirk Kurbjuweit of Der Spiegel, who wrote a 2009 biography of Merkel. “It’s her biggest advantage and disadvantage. She never says something fast. She waits and waits to see where the train is going and then she jumps on the train. Part of this she learned in the G.D.R. [Communist East Germany]. She knew she had to watch her words—there’s nobody better at [vague] words than Angela Merkel.”

She is often referred to as the world’s most powerful woman, although those in Merkel’s immediate circle will fix you with looks of utter disdain for even bringing up such a concept.

“That’s done for media lists—it has no meaning,” an official close to her told me. In fact, 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germans instinctively recoil at the idea of being powerful because that presumes responsibility on a global scale that they do not yet seem ready to take. The older generation still remembers the ravages of Hitler and the Third Reich, and the younger generation has grown up under the defense umbrella of the U.S. and NATO, which has been in place for nearly 70 years.

“Germans are just coming out of a phase where they didn’t see the world the way it was—now they are half in and half out,” former U.S. ambassador to Germany John Kornblum, who has lived in Germany for more than 40 years, told me. “Merkel is very smart and she is trying to manage these illusions while not losing elections

In Germany’s parliamentary system, Merkel is head of the center-right Christian Democratic Union party (C.D.U.). A year into her third term, she governs in a grand coalition with the center-left Social Democratic Party (S.P.D.), many of whose programs she has appropriated as her own, outflanking them at every turn and leaving little to debate. “We are a democracy,” Kurbjuweit says. “Government needs fights and arguments. We have none anymore.” Der Spiegel recently revealed that between 2009 and 2013 Merkel commissioned 600 secret public-opinion polls on the German electorate’s feelings. These are what often guide her actions.

https://www.vanityfair.com   https://worldview.stratfor.com

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GEOMETR.IT

World. О вразумлении грешников  15.09.2017

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GEOMETR.IT

1. The Elections Matter Not Just for Germany

in Conflicts 2017 · Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · EN · Geopolitics · Person 2017 16 views / 2 comments

 GERMANY EU FRANCE POlAND

GEOMETR.IT       worldview.stratfor.com

 

Germany’s Sept. 24 election will likely result in one of the most fragmented parliaments the country has seen in decades.

The country’s two largest parties will try to avoid renewing their current coalition partnership, meaning smaller parties will play a big role in the formation of the next government.

The ideological composition of the new administration will affect negotiations to reform the European Union, and when it comes to Southern Europe’s proposals for reform, a center-right coalition would be more skeptical than a center-left coalition.

Germany is heading into the final weeks of a fairly uneventful campaign season. There is little chance of a major nationalist or Euroskeptic victory, and opinion polls have remained steady. Although the runup to the Sept. 24 election has been relatively quiet, major repercussions, both domestic and international, could follow in its wake. The big question — both for Germans and fellow members of the European Union — is what form the final distribution of seats in the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, will take. The answer will determine not only the possible combination of parties that will form a German government coalition, but also shape the direction that much-needed reforms to the European bloc will take. 

Chaotic coalition 

For the past four years, Germany has been governed by a ruling coalition made up of the country’s two largest parties:

the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the progressive Social Democratic Party (SPD), led by former EU Parliament President Martin Schulz.

Though the two parties have been able to work together, their policies and outlook differ, and neither is eager to find itself in the same coalition after the dust of the national election settles.

The CDU and SPD will both be looking to form agreements with the country’s smaller political parties — four of which are in close competition to be the third-most-powerful party in Germany: the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP); the environmentalist The Greens; the left-wing The Left; and the Euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD). If the most recent opinion polls true and all four earn enough votes to enter the legislature, Germany would face its most fragmented parliament in decades.

Based on previous postelection negotiations, which lasted a month in 2009 and three months in 2013, German policymakers could again take months to settle on a new government. In the meantime, the country would operate under a caretaker government as the parties hammer out functional alliances. And though the CDU and SPD are angling to avoid a repeat of their current coalition paring, it remains a possibility. Another option, if the newly elected parliament struggles to coalesce, would be the formation of a minority government, in which one party governs alone, supported by other parties on a case-by-case basis. Given Germany’s consensus-driven political environment, this would be an unusual step, but it is not out the question.

https://worldview.stratfor.com

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 GEOMETR.IT

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