Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats face questions about their new leader and the impact of a corruption scandal involving mask production following historic defeats in German regional elections on Sunday, just six months before a national vote.
Merkel’s successor as chancellor will be chosen by voters in September and the CDU’s worst results in the states of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, which were once considered its strongholds, have increased pressure on the party to find out. how you can regain the public’s trust in time.
In the wealthy southern state of Baden-Württemberg, the CDU’s result plummeted to just 24%, far behind its main rival, the pro-environmental greens, who turned a profit to secure 33%. The CDU had previously ruled the state since 1953 for nearly 58 years.
In Rhineland-Palatinate in southwestern Germany, the CDU vote fell more than four points to 28%, and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) were victorious with 36%.
The CDU has had to face the fact that a corruption scandal involving alleged bribes for the acquisition of masks, which caused the resignation of three deputies in a week, in the run-up to the voting, has seriously damaged its image. On Monday he hinted that he plans to update an existing “codex” under which parliamentarians have to make public their loyalty to companies and any other interest group.
A slow launch of vaccines across the country, which has been largely attributed to the decision by Merkel and her health minister Jens Spahn, to allow the European Commission to take control of the orders, is also believed to have contributed. to the distrust of the voters. So far, only about 3.3% of Germans have received the full vaccination and 7.4% have received the first vaccine. These figures are much lower than those of the USA., where 11% have been fully vaccinated and 21% have received their first injection, and Great Britain, where only 2.4% have been fully vaccinated, but 36% have received their first injection.
The fact that the CDU has delivered such historically poor results, that they have plunged the party into its worst crisis for years two months after electing a new party leader, Armin Laschet, has raised serious questions about whether he is the right candidate. to take it. forward.
Commentators said on Monday that the lack of the so-called “Merkel bonus” that the party enjoyed for years, due to the popularity of the chancellor, who will not run again in September, has also had an impact on the result.
Markus Söder, the leader of the CDU’s sister party, the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian leader and the federal interior minister, called the results a “strong strike at the heart of the union,” largely blaming the strategy. the government to the coronavirus, including the vaccination program and a prolonged lockdown.
“The electoral results showed skepticism towards the management of the crisis,” he said.
Enjoying their party’s results, Greens co-leaders and potential chancellor candidates Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck said voters had shown their confidence in the Greens to rule and said the pandemic had contributed to the party’s momentum. highlighting deficits in governance.
“A lot of people have given it their all during the pandemic,” Baerbock told a news conference in Berlin. “They expected the government to do the same, but they are disappointed … that’s what the election results show.”
He said the result of the Greens in Baden-Württemberg in particular showed that the people wanted a different kind of politics. He said it was time to shake up the country, arguing that many opportunities to modernize Europe’s largest economy had been overlooked, citing in particular the need to update its often slow and clumsy daily management processes.
“During the pandemic we have seen how health authorities send faxes to each other,” he said, adding that the approach of “get by and get right” had to change.
Sunday’s state elections kicked off what has been labeled “super election year“O” super-election year “, to include more voting in the state of Saxony-Anhalt in June, Lower Saxony and Berlin in September and culminate in federal elections on September 26, along with elections in the states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Thuringia On the same day.
In both Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, the Greens, SPD and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) are potentially in a position to forge “traffic light” alliances, named for party colors, which leave the CDU outdoors. If managed successfully at the state level, it makes the constellation more likely at the national level.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism