Leading up to Germany’s general election in September, the iron Angela Merkel is not looking as strong as she has appeared in recent months while handing out ultimatums to Europe’s most powerful leaders in a bid to single handedly salvage their economies from financial meltdown.
Instead, she has suffered a great loss in popularity on home turf it seems, as the region of Lower Saxony secured her 12th defeat for the Christian Democrat and Liberal Free Democrat coalition party in Germany’s regional elections.
Merkel described the loss of Lower Saxony as ‘emotionally difficult,’ after the party believed they were still in line for a narrow victory in the face of difficult campaign.
There are concerns over the fact that this defeat has given the opposition centre-left party a majority in parliament, which will allow them overriding power to block legislation for Merkel.
Merkel’s biographer Gerd Langguth, said the election result in Lower Saxony had been “a veritable wake-up call” for the chancellor. “While she still has a definite majority at the federal level, and she can still be re-elected, this has taken the wind out of her sails somewhat.”
Translation agent report
An elections translation agency report revealed just how close the results had been in what Angela described as a ‘rollercoaster’ of a regional election. At first, the results seemed to show that the coalition had achieved a win by just one seat, which was quickly interpreted as a dead heat, followed by a final result which showed the Social Democrats and Green Party had claimed just one more seat than Merkel’s coalition party.
In a strange twist of events, Merkel’s popularity seems to have been jeopardised by her part in the coalition party. Voters, originally loyal to her Christian Democrat party, believed their votes would be more effective if given to the other half of her coalition, the FDP, in the hope that this would lengthen the duration of power of the party. 100,000 of Merkel’s former voters acted on this belief, which saw her support fall to just 36%.
In light of the Saxony vote, it is believed that Angela Merkel will campaign from a more independent standpoint in future, emphasising the imminent need for more Christian Democrat party votes.