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A TURN TOWARD GERMANY’S FUTURE

A TURN TOWARD GERMANY’S FUTURE

For more than a decade, German politics have been dominated by a single figure: Chancellor Angela Merkel. The fight to succeed her, which culminates today with a vote of delegates from her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to choose a new leader, is as much a battle over her legacy and style as the policies of those vying to eventually take Germany's top job.


The top two contenders are a diminutive powerhouse and career politician, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (known as "AKK") and a 6-foot-5 millionaire corporate banker, Friedrich Merz. The winner will immediately take over from Merkel as the party's chairperson and be well-positioned as the presumptive frontrunner to become chancellor when she steps down.

In recent weeks, the candidates crisscrossed the country offering their pitch on why they should be the party's next standard-bearer. On important issues such as the economy, strengthening the EU, and the importance of the US alliance, the two front-runners mostly agree. Where they differ, however, is in how they view of the centrist, consensus-based style that has defined Merkel's tenure and through which the dominant parties of center-right and center-left have governed together.

The stinging results of last year's national election hang over today's proceedings. After returning its worst result since 1949, the leaders of the center-right CDU, Ms. Merkel included, agree it's time for a change. Mr. Merz would like to see the party win back support among conservative voters by promoting German cultural values and taking a tougher stance on migration. Ms. Kramp-Karrenbauer believes a return to male-dominated conservative politics and refutation of multiculturalism risks alienating a new generation of voters.

Today's vote will decide the face of the next generation of German politics, with a victory for Mr. Merz likely signaling an early exit for Chancellor Merkel before her term ends in 2021, and whether it will be defined by a soft embrace or radical break from the Merkel era.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

UNGA Livestream