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German floods increase pressure for breaks during the Merkel era

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It is the truth of German politics that floods can change campaigns and influence politicians’ careers. As the Interior Minister of Hamburg Helmut Schmid He handled the flood crisis so efficiently in his port city in 1962 that he became nationally famous and became prime minister 12 years later.

Gerhard Schroeder was at risk of losing re-election in 2002 until the Prime Minister of the Social Democratic Party Convinced voters of his leadership qualities By touring the flooded area of ​​the river Elbe with a tough face and rubber boots. His conservative enemy, Edmund Stoiber, was slow to capture the moment, lost the election and disappeared from the national stage.

By this measure flood The turmoil in West Germany last week, killing at least 170 people, should have shaken the campaign for the Bundestag elections on September 26. result.Support for all major German political parties is about the same level In polls Just like before the flood.

At about 30% Christian democracy And their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, maintains an approximately 10-point lead that has built beyond the second-placed green since May. Top poll in April, Greens It seems that the ground lost in the last three months cannot be regained.

NS Social Democratic Party, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU-led “Grand Coalition” junior partner remains in third place with about 16 percent. The liberal Liberal Democratic Party is fourth with about 12 percent.At the end of the pack is a right-wing populist Choices for Germany Both radical Leftists see the mainstream parties as too extreme to be national-level coalition partners.

In other words, the CDU-CSU block still has the potential to lead the next German government. At the same time, no one knows who they can form a coalition with.All of Combination mote Before the floods, including Germany’s first CDU-Green Government flood. Everything depends on the election day.

However, floods are important for several reasons.They illuminated the light of flattery Armin Rachette, Choice of CDU to replace Chancellor Angela Merkel.Germans want their leaders to be serious people, especially at the moment of crisis Cry in the background Like when Rachette visited a flooded town.

Until the flood broke out, Rachette’s campaign was summarized in one simple message.German voters who hate risk The cautious policy that Merkel has generally pursued During her 16-year prime minister. He also pointed his gun at his hometown of North Rhine-Westphalia as an advocate for the coal industry. These positions are Instant consensus In the German political and media world, floods are associated with climate change.

But just because of that consensus, the Greens found it difficult to gain political advantage from the floods. Their environmentalism no longer really makes them stand out.For many voters, the problem is Annalena BaerbockThe party’s candidate for prime minister has the personal qualities that deserve the job. Since May, this has been a vulnerable point for Greens.

In particular, floods have exposed the weaknesses of Germany’s disaster response system, Many years of underinvestment In the infrastructure under Merkel. They show that Germany’s acclaimed federal model can fail people if their politicians are happy or slow to act.

For these reasons, the next German government does not just need to display Increasing urgency for climate change But overall, there will be pressure to invest more in modernizing the economy. The collapse of the Merkel era may be more decisive than was thought before the flood.

tony.barber@ft.com

German floods increase pressure for breaks during the Merkel era

Source link German floods increase pressure for breaks during the Merkel era

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