Wounded After Disastrous Election, Germany’s Merkel Forced to Plead: ‘I’m Still Alive’

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Germany’s Angela Merkel, once hailed as the new “leader of the free world” by the anti-Trump left-liberal establishment, has been reduced to pleading she is “still alive” in front of an audience in Augsburg, Bavaria.

The nominally ‘centre-right’ politician, who has been in office since 2005, led her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party to its worst election result since 1949 last year.

Her unilateral decision to open Europe’s borders to at least a million migrants in 2015 unleashed chaos across the continent, and created space for the previously marginal eurosceptic, anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) to carve out a place for itself in German politics.

The 64-year-old has only clung on to power by forming a ‘grand coalition’ with her supposed rivals in the left-wing Social Democratic Party (SPD), but her position has appeared increasingly precarious — with interior minister Horst Seehofer, who leads the CDU’s sister party in Bavaria, publicly threatening to walk away from her governing and forcing her to somewhat toughen up Germany’s borders.

It is against this backdrop that the embattled Chancellor told the Augsburger Allgemeine that “I’m sitting here alive and kicking, and I’m planning on keeping on with my work” — a statement few genuinely strong leaders would find themselves having to make.

Merkel’s most recent reverse was the ouster of her long-time ally Volker Kauder as leader of her party’s parliamentary group in a secret ballot — although she has so far resisted calls to submit herself to a vote of confidence in her leadership, and insists she will ask to remain as CDU leader when the party considers the question in December.

Polls suggest the public is weary of the veteran politician, however, with only 23 percent of of the public saying she has shown strong leadership in recent weeks, against 71 percent who do not — including 57 percent of CDU supporters.

Even Günther Oettinger, appointed to the EU Commission by Merkel in 2010, is now publicly denigrating the Chancellor as a “lame duck”.

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