Merkel in her Biggest Dilemma

Friendly fire from Bavaria?

By Harald Dähne

Merkel and Seehofer

Historic days in Berlin: the German government is in danger like never before.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and her party the CDU (Christian Democratic Union) is being vigorously attacked by her own so called “sister party”, the Bavarian CSU (Christian Social Union).

After the last federal election in autumn, the conservative CDU/CSU formed a coalition with the SPD (Social Democrats of Germany) again. But now the Bavarians are Merkel’s biggest enemies.

It seems they hate her and want to remove her: “Merkel has to go!”

Differences over refugees

The leader of the CSU, Horst Seehofer, is the interior minister in the federal government. He wants to institute a special hard-line anti-refugee policy and close the German borders – against Merkel’s will and the EU‑law.

The CSU greatest fear in the upcoming Bavarian elections in autumn 2018, is that it would lose its absolute majority. The party has been holding power for decades.

It was the one and only Bavarian “Staatspartei” with 60% to 70%. But now the nationalist AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) could get 15% of the Bavarian votes – and the Conservatives only 40%.

So the CSU is acting more and more in panic, and is trying to adopt the xenophobic positions of the AfD.

Political intrigue

Merkel could fire the disloyal minister. But then the 70 year old familiar liaison between CDU and CSU would end.

So the minister is trying to threaten Merkel with the end of her Chancellorship. On the other side there are the Social Democrats who want a European solution.

They could stop the coalition too if Merkel chose the unilateralism way on letting in refugees.

The power struggle started in 2015

The situation is the result of a longer power struggle. It started in the summer of 2015. From the beginning of that refugee crisis the CSU was against Merkel’s policy.

Even in the government the Bavarians have performed like an opposition party. The Bavarians always tried to challenge and impede the Chancellor and CDU-leader.

They’re been talking about “asyl-tourism” in the EU,

  • claimed refugee policy is “illegal” and “injustice”
  • proclaimed a new “conservative revolution”
  • welcomed the Hungarian nationalist premier Victor Orban in Bavaria.

In reality the actual escalation is a phantom debate. It’s not necessary to close the borders because most refugees were stopped in Turkey, Greece or Italy.

Not many of them reached the German border. But the atmosphere in Germany has been growing into hysteria. Hate, violence and Neo-Nazi propaganda gets more space in the public discussions.

It seems these days that Germany is going crazy about a non-existent question.

 

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