Destinations Magazine

Defeat on the Elbe

By Stizzard
Defeat on the Elbe All must have prizes

THE German chancellor, Angela Merkel, may be the West’s de facto leader in the Ukraine crisis, a quasi-hegemon in the European Union and unassailably popular in opinion polls. But her centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has growing weaknesses, as Hamburg, one of Germany’s 16 federal states, showed on February 15th.

The CDU was the big loser in a regional election that had several winners. The Social Democrats (SPD), led by a colourless but reliable mayor, Olaf Scholz, triumphed with 45.7% of the vote and will stay in power, probably with the Greens. The Alternative for Germany (AfD), a Eurosceptic party founded in 2013, got into its first assembly in west Germany after breaking into three eastern parliaments. Even the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) returned, with 7.4%.

The kingmaker of German governments for much of post-war history, the FDP has of late seemed moribund, ejected from the federal and several state parliaments. A cranky Green politician, Jörg Rupp, tweeted that the FDP succeeded “with tits and legs instead of content”, intended as a swipe at the party’s leading…

The Economist: Europe

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