If they value something germans it is stability, certainty, the assurance that there will be no major shocks. And that’s something that Angela Merkel It has assured them for the last 16 years. A kind of maternal relationship between a country and its maximum leader – for something they call her ‘mutti’ or mommy – that marked an era. An era that comes to an end on September 26, when a new chancellor is elected.
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Merkel, the scientist specializing in quantum physics and chemistry, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor who grew up in Germany Oriental and the most powerful woman in the world, decided not to seek a fifth term and will no longer be in charge of the strongest nation of Europe, who had already gotten used to it.
But define the legacy of Merkel It is not a simple task. Despite the trust that citizens have placed in him and the respect they have for him,. For some too cold and calculating, for others without a strong ideology and bold leadership. However, most recognize that he has been the ideal person to weather the multiple crises he endured. Germany and Europe, when, on paper, it did not appear to be.
Just check your approval numbers. According to the Politbarometer, between 2005 and 2021 it was only below 50% support for one month in 2010, when the euro crisis occurred.
Some important achievements can be summarized in the Chancellor’s curriculum: achieving a national minimum wage, giving benefits to parents to take care of their young children, ending military service, betting on sustainable energy by accelerating the closure of nuclear power plants and approve equal marriage, an agenda that, at first glance, would not correspond to the leader of a conservative right-wing party like the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
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“She developed a way of exercising power, which has to do with a pragmatic vision of politics, and not so doctrinaire. If he had to change his mind or direction, well he did, always analyzing the variables available to make that decision. She did not see it as ‘this is my vision of the country and I fight for that’, but rather ‘this is the problem and how we solve it’ “, points out to El Comercio Franco Delle Donne, doctor in Communication from the Free University of Berlin and producer of the podcast “Merkel, the chancellor of crises ”.
“So, with that political culture, she established a logic of non-polarization, of always trying to seek consensus, of negotiating until the last consequences”, adds.
Thanks to this uncompromising pragmatism, she led her party toward a broader agenda. “Some say it moved the party to the left, but I don’t see it that way. She modernizes the CDU and brings it into the 21st century so that it is ready for new challenges. “, Senala Of Women.
An era of change
One of the main characteristics of the governments of Merkel it has been his ability to manage multiple crises. And crisis in capital letters.
Just to name a few: the precipice in which the euro stood, economic austerity, the wave of refugees struggling to enter Europe, the empowerment of the far right, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
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In all of them, Merkel She knew how to weather the storm -with greater or lesser success- using her pragmatism and her negotiation skills, which led her not to feel intimidated by the male brotherhood of her own party, who made the mistake of minimizing her from the beginning, or by Vladimir Putin – who had the audacity to take his dog on a bilateral date to intimidate her – or Donald Trump and his isolationist speech.
“You protected our country well. All the great crossroads that you had to navigate came overnight and you should have governed well “Bavarian Governor Markus Soeder recently told him.
“The Germans are going to miss her. She has been a guarantor of stability. Although she had mistakes, people trusted that while she was there there was more or less certainty. And the candidate who now leads the polls, Olaf Scholz, despite being a social democrat, in his expressions and speeches is the most similar to Merkel, “he says. Of women.
A similar opinion holds Ralph Bollmann, author of the biography “Angela Merkel. The Chancellor and her time ”and journalist for the daily“ Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung ”: “There was a constant succession of crises that were true existential threats and questioned the order to which we are accustomed and their achievement was to lead to Germany, Europe and to a certain extent the whole world to a good port, no matter how much the details are criticized ”.
The role of women
One point that has remained pending is the empowerment of women in politics. During years, Merkel she was considered the most powerful woman in the world. But, at the same time, female representation in governments remains a pending issue, even in Germany: only 31.4% of the seats in the Bundestag (the Federal Parliament) are held by female deputies, while only 15% of the positions on the boards of directors of companies are held by women.
“She said a phrase when the 100 years of the feminine vote in Germany: ‘now nobody makes fun of a girl who wants to be chancellor when she grows up’. However, this legacy of Merkel it has more to do with a dimension of symbol and showing that the door has been opened, because it is true that she has not put the issue on her shoulder “, says Delle Donne.
Few weeks ago, Merkel she recently dared to say that she was a feminist and that “we all should be”, but that is not why she will be effectively remembered.
The shy Lutheran girl who hated to be the focus of attention will once again return to the quiet of low profile. Merkel, pragmatics, which sees the world through the prism of physics, will leave Germany and Europe in the hands of others. Can they get by without it?
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