Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Death of German Conservatism

Amid the post-election noise in Germany, one salient fact has been getting little play. German voters don't trust political parties to the right of the center. It's been a long time coming, but its time to write the obituary of German conservatism. Everybody knows it's coming. Somebody is going to have to take the fall for the Christian Democrats (CDU) miserable showing in last Sunday's general elections -- and all signs point to party head and chancellor candidate Angela Merkel. Indeed, the knives to be used in the slaughter of this scapegoat are already being sharpened. According to Thursday's Süddeutsche Zeitung, the leader of the CDU's Bavarian sister party, Governor Edmund Stoiber has already begun blaming Merkel internally for "her cold and heartless rhetoric" used in the campaign. "Merkel and the CDU failed to convince voters that they have a vision," says Gedmin. Political scientist Franz Walter agrees. "Along with all of the economic and programmatic documents in the CDU, there is no well-developed chapter about values and worldview anymore." Which leads one back to Angela Merkel. Maybe she wasn't the right candidate to communicate exactly what the party's vision was. Either way, the party now beginning to develop a vision: That of a party without Merkel as leader.


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