As Merkel prepares to leave, there will be “significant” changes in the German leadership

Berlin | A new alliance agreement, a new government, a new chancellor-the three German parties agreed on Wednesday to advance a new era, although many people looked back with anticipation: the deal officially ended the chancellor Angela MerkelAs the hegemon of Europe’s most influential country for 16 years.

“I’m not sure what we would do without she“,” said Heike, a Berlin music student, who claimed to be a Green Party voter, but added that he admired his wife. MerkelThe “stable hand” of the country, especially during the pandemic.

For young voters like 22-year-old Heike, Merkel He is the only German leader they can remember.

The Germans already know that the country’s next leader, the leader of the Social Democratic Party Olaf Schultz, 63. On Wednesday, the official end of the Merkel era took a big step forward. Schultz Announcing a firm agreement for a new ruling coalition, which will make Mrs. MerkelThe Christian Democrats lost power for the first time since the George W. Bush administration.

Mr. Left Schultz Served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in the Merkel government and a member of the Junior Coalition Party. he Not to excite many people, the party won by a narrow margin in the September election.

Instead, what observers say is exciting, novel, and unusual is the grouping itself: the deal brings together the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), the left-wing Green Party, and the pro-commercial Liberal Democratic Party (FDP)—they usually vote for Pro-market rights-in the first three-party government Germany history.

“It’s very remarkable,” said Stefan Bauman, a 54-year-old Frankfurt resident. “It’s younger and more free than anything we’ve seen Germany. It shows that voters believe that new things must happen in Germany, Some things must change. “

New faces will also appear at the top: 40-year-old Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock is expected to become GermanyChristian Lindner, the 42-year-old first female foreign minister and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, is expected to become finance minister. It is widely expected that Robert Harbeck, the co-leader of the Green Party, will succeed the newly expanded Ministry of Economy and Climate Change.

Many voters regard the incoming prime minister as a technocrat, a gatekeeper like his wife. MerkelIt has very little ideological representation, but it reflects the old-school and boring nature of the country’s two establishment parties, the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democratic Party. Some predict that this alliance may prove to be unworkable in the end, and the Social Democratic Party will be overshadowed by more ideological parties on the right and left.

Klaus Lahme, a 54-year-old who owns a clothing store in Berlin, said: “We have three completely different political parties with different ideologies — there were only two before. They have different views, but they can Compromise.” “I think these three people can work together for the first three months, but I’m not sure how it will work in the long run.”

“The plans of the Green Party and the Liberal Democratic Party may be at the forefront, while the plans of the Social Democratic Party will take a back seat,” he added. “The Social Democratic Party may lead the government, but I think most of the changes may come from other coalition partners.”

But Mr. Bowman expects the new party to change the direction of the country.

“This alliance will focus on the environment, digitalization, and modernization,” he said. “In the past, the government has been focused on keeping what we have. This looks like it has to focus on the future.”

Worried about the future

Suda David Wilp, deputy director of the Berlin office of the German Marshall Foundation think tank, said that the election and the resulting alliance highlighted the Germans’ concerns about the future.

She said: “Germans prefer continuity, but if there is no change, the country will lose its competitive advantage and eventually its reputation as an economic power,” she said. “This new tripartite alliance is novel and aims to promote internal Transformation. Germany In many ways, whether it is moving away from coal by 2030 or investing in digital infrastructure. “

At the same time, observers say that conservatives may be more divided than in the past decade.

Mrs. Merkel, Their polls are usually higher than political parties she Representative, alienated many right wing she Party and many people say she It does not really represent the CDU/CSU is at she Note the far-right alternative Germany (AfD) The party was formed and won enough support to be able to enter the parliament. It was in the past ten years that the CDU lost its stronghold in Baden-Württemberg more than 50 years later and gained support across the country.

Analysts said that now the CDU will be busy looking for new leaders, while members of the Green Party, Liberal Democratic Party and Social Democratic Party will vote to confirm Mr. Schultz As the new prime minister, maybe in the first week of December.

What awaits the new prime minister is to figure out how to deal with the complex politics of the pandemic: Germany Having seen COVID-19 cases rise to the highest level in the pandemic, a grim milestone was reported this week, with the number of deaths related to COVID-19 exceeding 100,000. gentlemen. Schultz Will also work hard to win the respect and influence of his wife. Merkel Accumulated to see the EU in a series of political, strategic and economic crises she term of office.

Some people here also commented on how the lady did it. Merkel‘S departure sparked months of international respect and support GermanyThe first female headmaster-usually called “Mutti” (mother).At home, there are already a lot of lost and quiet troubles GermanyA pragmatic and problem-solving leader.

The farewell is in stark contrast to the wife’s departure. MerkelPrime Minister Helmut Kohl, a former political mentor, also served for 16 years when he stepped down in 1998.

“Cole exhausted us, he became too king, too crazy-he felt a sense of relief when he left,” Mr. Bowman said. “MerkelHowever, we must manage the country well, control things, and keep everything normal. “

Wednesday, sir. Schultz bring she Flowers at the weekly meeting of the Cabinet, possibly she Last.When European leaders were about to leave the world stage, some people said she Won respect and praise-and more.

“I think in 16 years she It’s worth taking a break,” said Mr. Rahm, the owner of the clothing store.

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