Election reforms in Germany
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As her never-before-seen fame shows, the Germans thanked Angela Merkel, their outgoing chancellor, for leading them through a time of economic and political crisis. The stability and development that he maintained and the leadership of the system made Germany envious of the world and the great power in Europe. Germans from all over the world pay tribute to the challenges they faced.
Many of its most important decisions – rapid nuclear disarmament, keeping Greece within the euro, accepting special measures in which the European Central Bank kept a single currency, opening German doors during the refugee crisis and facilitating the recovery of the EU’s debt-relief fund – were forced on him in temporary need. Basically, he called correctly. He was able to judge when dissenting views were willing to change suddenly.
Where Merkel failed was in the extra business of keeping Germany up to date. Many of the damage he has suffered during his 16 years in power has come recently: digital backsliding; information system; Inactive, skipping governments; as well as a lack of interest in the development of electronic weapons in Europe. All of this should be done promptly.
If Merkel re-runs the federal election on Sunday, she will win. Voters are not interested in who wants to replace him. The one who is closest to imitating his unwavering, assertive stance, Social Democrat candidate Olaf Scholz, has turned his personality into an electoral treasure. The Germans do not seem to want any major change; they quickly became disillusioned with the idea of making Annalena Baerbock the first chancellor of Green in Germany. The country may be heading for its first alliance, its own way, but the result will be a ban on legal reform.
The Germans may yearn for Merkel’s successor, but they also want their next government to address the problems it leaves behind. Scholz understands this better than his Christian Democrat counterpart Armin Laschet, whose campaign is powerless and unpopular. Laschet’s gravit failure has led to a lack of new ideas from the exhausted CDU.
Many of the problems in Germany are lack of funds. What is important for the coming government will be a significant increase in government investment and fiscal incentives. Meeting the EU’s target of CO2 emissions by 2030 would require an additional 2% of GDP per year. Germany’s poor connectivity and lack of digital skills also require more money, not to mention the infrastructure that is undermining operations.
Naturally, German political parties may agree to restructure the legally registered loans to support the one-time money-making operation. The right collision makes it impossible. But there are ways to get around debt limits, such as a special car for spending money or a simple legal interpretation. The move could help resume negotiations on EU economic policy, giving Berlin’s European counterparts an important opportunity.
Whether it is for Germany to rebuild its economy, to play a major role in European or international security, or to jeopardize trade relations by being strong in China is a matter of hope. But the next government must change the world as it is. It may not be great, but change is coming.