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Sep 09 2008

Was ist los, Frau Merkel?

Published by at 11:30 am under Europe,Opinion

First published on my old blog on 14/7/2005. 

Something’s wrong with Frau Merkel. Since her “inappropriate” speech during chancellor Schröder’s no confidence debate she looks like death warmed up. 

She looks tired, stressed, unhealthy, untidy and unhappy (even I couldn’t manage all those things on a bad day). Like someone who’s under huge stress. And can’t cope with it. 

And she hasn’t even been chancellor for a day! 

If she doesn’t shake herself out of this “daze” soon and start looking like chancellor material, the CDU/FDP coalition will not make it in the September election. 

And if they lose in September it will surely go down as the most remarkable election loss in recorded history. 

I accept there must be a hellavulot of stress involved in getting an election program on paper in Germany – a country where everyone gets some kind of hand-out and thinks he/she is entitled to it until death parts him/her from Father State. 

But, really. She had it in the bag 4 weeks ago. Now it looks like she’s going to lose something she never had. 

And it wasn’t always like this. Until this fated no confidence vote she was superb in her public appearances. Looking….well, looking OK. But, saying the right things. In general, looking in control and on top of her job. 

Then she came with that “I’m-the-little-campaign-fighter-on-the-opposition-bench” speech in the no confidence debate, when a statesmanlike “Meet-your-next-chancellor” speech was called for. 

That was a bad day for her. (It was also a bad hair day for her. But then again, almost every day is). 

Could it be that on that day some of her party colleagues lost faith in her ability to lead them all to victory in September? 

Egal. Only thing important now, is that she regains her former “glory”. 

The problem is, Frau Merkel has to get her act together, because the CDU/FDP can’t rely on anyone else to pull them through. 

Herr Stoiber certainly can’t do it. He simply hasn’t got the stature, gravitas, body language and presentation needed to be a chancellor. If he was the opposition candidate for chancellor and not Frau Merkel, they would lose (again). I’m sure. 

And she has to get her act together quickly. Voter polls are getting unfriendlier by the week. If the rot picks up a certain momentum, she’s not going to stop it before it’s too late. 

Then Germany will sit with the same problem after the election than before the election: a government too weak to act fast, decisively and with the perceived strength needed to get tough reforms through. 

So, Frau Merkel. Shake yourself out of it. And start looking and acting like a statesman, eh….stateswoman. Your country needs you.

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