Berlin / Brussels – Three months ago, the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban had made a strong statement criticising the German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying, ‘If I were the German Chancellor, I would have taken an aggressive stance against the illegal immigrants and expelled them all from the country. I wouldn’t care even if I had to resign from my post.’
After the criticism, there wasn’t the remotest possibility of Chancellor Merkel taking the ‘resign from the post’ part seriously. However, Angela Merkel, once referred to as the leader of Europe, was forced to commit about her resignation owing to the successive political jolts received from within the country.
On Sunday, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party suffered an 11 per cent decline in the vote share, reaching a record low of 27 per cent in the elections held at the Hesse state. The record decline became the decisive factor leading to the end of the political career for Angela Merkel, known as the CDU supremo for the past 15 years.
The loss of majority in the states of Bavaria and Hesse, within a mere span of one month, cornered Merkel further. The policy of welcoming the immigrants into Germany became the most significant factor for the loss of the majority. The Merkel government did not appropriately address the issues which arose due to the immigrant influx and hence the German populace is said to have expressed its displeasure through the local elections.
Thus to ease the dual responsibility of being the Chancellor of Germany and the CDU chief, Merkel has decided to quit her post of party chief. Merkel has announced that she would not be participating in the party elections scheduled at the end of this year. Severe reactions have emanated from Germany as well as Europe upon the announcement from Merkel, who has been in the limelight of the party and the country for more than one and a half decade.
Following Merkel’s announcement, the German and European media, and also the analysts underlined that she was only relieving herself from the responsibilities of the party and would continue as the Chancellor for the full term, which is up till 2021. However, within less than 24 hours from her announcement, her opponents in the party have announced of getting into the race for the CDU leadership. While vying for the top party post, her opponents have also indicated that the decision regarding continuation of Merkel’s chancellorship would be taken up by the CDU and its ruling alliance partners.
The German media and the analysts are heavily debating over the likelihood of Merkel being pushed out of the chancellery after being relieved from the party leadership. Both the leaders in the race for the CDU leadership, the current Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn and Friedrich Merz, who was the CDU youth-wing leader at one time, are known to be staunch opponents of Merkel.
Remarkably, both the leaders are bitterly opposed to Merkel’s policies regarding immigrants. Merz had gone to the extent of stating that Merkel was not competent enough to be the country’s Chancellor. Moreover, if either of the two leaders become the party chief, it is believed that Merkel would not be able to hold on to her post of Chancellor for too long.
Chancellor Merkel had influenced the EU to form an impression that ‘Europe meant Germany’. Merkel’s resignation would jolt the future schemes of the European Union and can even end up in its disintegration.
Italy, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic are already up in arms to challenge the German domination over the European Union. For the past few months, the forecast of the next year’s European parliamentary elections being decisive in writing the fate of the EU was made. Therefore, Angela Merkel stepping down as the German Chancellor can severely jolt the established leadership of the European Union.