Reelection Campaign

No Sign of Change

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Angela Merkel could become the longest-serving chancellor in German history, matching Helmut Kohl’s 16 years.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Angela Merkel became leader of the conservative Christian Democratic Party in 2000 and has been the country’s chancellor since 2005.
    • The Christian Democrats narrowly missed winning an absolute majority in 2013 federal elections and are ruling in a coalition government with the center-left Social Democrats.
    • Ms. Merkel’s popularity has waned in the past year due in large part to the refugee crisis. Her CDU has slumped in the polls to around 30 percent, though it remains the largest party.
  • Audio

    Audio

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a news conference at the CDU headquarters in Berlin
Ms. Merkel won't change her stripes after 12 years in power, Handelsblatt's chief politics editor argues. Source: DPA [M]

Angela Merkel has confirmed her candidacy to become federal chancellor for the fourth time. The decision suggests there will be no change of course. The German public feels it is in good hands with the longest-serving government head in the Western world.

This feel-good factor is worth a lot in times where populists are gaining ground. But is it really enough for a country like Germany?

Helmut Kohl’s fourth term as chancellor amounted to four wasted years. The country was blighted, and at the end of it, people went for a genuine fresh start in the form of Social Democrat Gerhard Schröder.

Today, the chancellor’s economy is doing nicely on the back of zero interest rates, demographic factors pushing down unemployment on the labor market, and the low price of oil. But there will be no modernization agenda or digital economic miracle with Ms. Merkel at the helm.

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