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Angela Merkel has left the CDU in tatters

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I don't know about you, but I've lost track of the number of — mostly rather lame — metaphors used by journalists (yes, guilty) to describe Chancellor Angela Merkel's influence and legacy in German politics. Over the past 16 years, we have heard much eulogizing about her, ranging from descriptions of her as "a rock of stability" and talk of her popularity having "reached new heights" to warnings that her successor will face an "uphill battle" (bit of a theme going on here).

A rock, a hill or a mountain is an immovable object. Applied to the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), inflexibility and complacency in a post-Merkel world spell stagnation or a further downslide for this once-mighty Volkspartei (major party), reminiscent of the decline of the other major party, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD).

On paper, at least, the Social Democrats and the Greens are emphasizing the need for fundamental change to meet the many daunting challenges ahead: notably, those of tackling the climate crisis and finally joining the digital 21st century. Despite the CDU's assertions to the contrary, it still comes across as being mired in Merkel's sedate weiter so (keep it up) politics.

But here's the paradox: Though there is public recognition to a certain extent of the need for some form of change, German politics are steeped in conservatism and the tradition of not upsetting the status quo. Deep down, it will always be a bourgeois society. Change is welcome only when it doesn't compromise wealth and prosperity. The CDU's claim that a possible coalition of the SPD, the Greens and the Left Party would somehow constitute a political shift to the radical left and spell doom for the country is misplaced fearmongering. It doesn't get more mainstream and........

© Deutsche Welle

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