Merkel won the election and has been hailed as the most powerful woman in the world, “one woman to rule them all” and Europe’s new speed dial number (a la Henry Kissinger)–showing the staying power of Europe as well as the oft-debated notion of austerity.
Now she must govern, and a grand coalition with the Social Democrats looks likely–a move that could weaken their own party–but ultimately could lead to stability at home:
Chancellor Angela Merkel at the head of a coalition with the Social Democrats? It is a pairing Germany has seen before, most recently from 2005 to 2009. And now, it is looking increasingly likely that a redux is looming — to the point that prominent SPD politicians are starting to draw their red lines for European policy.
What are the broader issues, especially across Europe? Take a look at CFR.org’s very useful Issue Guide with links across a variety of media sources on domestic politics, Greece, and foreign policy. Meanwhile, the Anti-European party is alive and growing, and Merkel may be strong at home but standing more alone across Europe. Even so, Gideon Rachman sees her as a visionary leader–something needed in a time of economic and political crisis across Europe.
Love at Home? Internally a major challenge of this potential alliance is whether the SDP will be overshadowed by joining in a coalition–this being the party that was once the most powerful worker’s party in the world. But as FT.com’s Jakob Augstein observes (free registration required), “Germany is a representative democracy and the truth is that Ms Merkel also lost on Sunday. Her centre-right coalition failed to get the majority needed for another term.” Again, what does this mean for her ability to govern?