Monday, October 18

The indispensable Germany


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The elections in Germany have turned into an exciting spectacle with a campaign much more focused on candidates than programs. The Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, current vice chancellor, has sought above all to present himself as the heir of Angela Merkel. He has imitated her at rallies by copying her particular way of putting her hands together and forming the outline of a diamond. His message has not been one of change but one of reliability and continuity.

The Christian Democratic candidate, Armin Laschet, has taken a toll on his joviality and propensity to screw up, although he has recovered in recent days. Green contender Anna Lena Baerbock, who came to the fore and represented a new generation, was

he has self-destructive by publishing a book with plagiarized pages and not reporting all his income on time. It is very possible that tomorrow the polls will not offer a result with a clear winner. Germany would enter a long interregnum, with a highly fragmented parliament in which the two highest-voted list heads could attempt to form different governing coalitions at the same time. Hopefully this is not the case, because the moment the European Union is going through requires far-reaching decisions, especially in international politics. German paralysis from introspection and aimlessness is the last thing we need.

Fortunately, Angela Merkel will remain in the Chancellery for a few months and will promote the formation of a composite executive, something in which she has long experience. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will also come to the rescue, as he did in 2018, when it seemed impossible to close a new government pact. These negotiations should mark Germany’s return to serious politics, based on detailed discussion of public policies and programs and focused on the difficult art of reaching consensus. An exercise of power in which experts in economics, health, energy or foreign policy have a lot to say. It will be time to leave behind the banality and excitement of this electoral campaign, with the caution of knowing that boredom is sometimes the best ally of populism.

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