GZERO Media logo

THE TWILIGHT OF THE MERKEL ERA

THE TWILIGHT OF THE MERKEL ERA

After a series of tough electoral setbacks, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced yesterday that she will not seek another term as the head of her governing Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party. To say that this marks the end of an era is an understatement – Merkel has led the party for almost two decades and governed Germany for 13 years.


The announcement formalizes what many have expected since a shaky re-election bid late last year: the twilight of the Merkel-era is here. What’s does it mean?

The fight at home: While Merkel’s current term as chancellor doesn’t end until 2021, her announcement sets off an immediate fight to succeed her as leader of the CDU, which holds party elections in December. The battle pits a traditionalist “old-guard,” who would carry on her legacy of pragmatic centrism, against a group of younger, more conservative leaders who want to shift the party rightwards to fend off the surging far-right Alternative for Germany party (AfD).

The wild card: If the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) – which has gotten hammered at the polls since reluctantly forming a coalition with the CDU last year – pulls the plug and forces new elections, her time could be up well before 2021. Merkel has stated she will not seek re-election under such circumstances.

A different Germany in the EU? Ms. Merkel has been the most powerful leader in the EU during some of its greatest successes and biggest challenges. During her tenure, the euro was officially introduced as the national currency in 19-member states, the bloc expanded to include Hungary, Poland, and much of the Balkans. But the EU also suffered the 2009 financial and associated southern European debt crisis, the 2014 Ukraine crisis, and the 2015 migrant crisis that has, in the years since, pitched much of Europe rightwards politically. Through all of those moments, Merkel embraced a central role for Germany in supporting the European Union project, even when it cost her at home – as now, it arguably has for the last time. Whoever succeeds her will likely take a much narrower view of Germany’s role within the EU.

Empathy and listening are key to establishing harmonious relationships, as demonstrated by Callista Azogu, GM of Human Resources & Organization for Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), an Eni subsidiary in Abuja. "To build trust is very difficult. To destroy it is very easy," says Callista, whose busy days involve everything from personnel issues to union relationships. She sees great potential for her native Nigeria not only because of the country's natural resources, but because of its vibrant and creative people.

Learn more about Callista in this episode of Faces of Eni.

For the world's wealthiest nations, including the United States, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine has been rocky, to say the least. And as a result, much of the developing world will have to wait even longer for their turn. Part of the challenge, World Bank President David Malpass says, is that "advanced economies have reserved a lot of the vaccine doses." Malpass sat down with Ian Bremmer recently to talk about what his organization is doing to try to keep millions around the world from slipping deeper into poverty during the pandemic. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Saturday will mark the beginning of an historic turning point for European politics as 1,001 voting members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, hold an online conference to elect a new leader.

Here are the basic facts:

More Show less

For the first time in twenty years, extreme poverty around the world is growing. How does the developing world recover from a pandemic that has brought even the richest nations to their knees? David Malpass, the President of the World Bank, is tasked with answering that question. He joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to talk about how his organization is trying to keep the developing world from slipping further into poverty in the wake of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Joe Biden wants to move into the White House, but the coast isn't clear. He may need some bleach.

Watch more PUPPET REGIME here.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal