Germany: Merkel aide criticized over comment on nationalists

Germany: Merkel aide criticized over comment on nationalists

European shares steadied on Friday, as tensions over North Korea kept some investors on the sidelines ahead of a national election in Germany that conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel looks set to win.

"Many voters, especially on the right but also in the center, have felt that the two traditional parties have not addressed the issue of immigration and German cultural identity", Botsch said. At the same time, the far-right nationalist, xenophobic, and explicitly anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (A.F.D.) is rising in the polls, some of which show it with as much as twelve per cent of the vote, with a large number of Germans still undecided.

At Berlin's Gendarmenmarkt, SPD leader Martin Schulz - Merkel's main rival - urged supporters to make their voices heard, saying that high voter turnout could help offset growing support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). Her center-right CDU party isn't seeing the kind of approval ratings as they did in earlier campaigns.

Polls suggest there may be six parties altogether in the next parliament (there are now four). But as Merkel herself has warned, it would be "grotesque and absurd" to expect that she could carry the standard of liberal internationalism.Germany, due to its history, is reticent about reclaiming a leading role on the world stage.

The most likely option, according to opinion polls. One of Schulz's big moments this spring was when he stepped up and expressed outrage after Trump disparaged Merkel, whom he has said is ruining Germany.

The SPD's relationship with the CDU has been both its success and its downfall.

The conservative block and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) are traditional partners, especially on financial and economic policy, having ruled together for nearly half of post-war Germany's seven decades.

More importantly, though, the FDP's views on "Europe" clash with those of a Chancellor credited with being the region's crisis manager over the last decade. She and her party, the Christian Democratic Union, experienced a backlash in polls and state elections after the summer of 2015, but that storm has blown over.

About two points behind are the centrists FDP, who are set to return to parliament after they were wiped out in the 2013 election. It has more radical tax reduction and privatization plans, opposes deeper European Union integration and wants European Union countries to be able to quit the euro zone. But months of wrangling is expected and, depending on numbers, Mrs Merkel may engineer the inclusion of the Greens in a "Jamaica" coalition. They put Schulz's Social Democrats around or below the 23 per cent they won in their worst showing yet in post-World War II Germany, in 2009. For instance, the CDU partnering with FDP and Greens under Merkel's leadership.

The Left Party, Die Linke, is led by Sahra Wagenknecht. Although they keep talking about the nation-state, they oppose key principles of Western constitutionalism like separation of powers and the protection of minorities against the tyranny of the majority. Such a coalition would promote a strong Europe and focus on fighting climate change.

This political witch-hunt is accompanied by a campaign from the mainstream media to stigmatize support for the AfD. Clashes are also likely on some aspects of energy policy and auto emissions regulation following the diesel scandal. Mr Kronhagel teaches new arrivals the German language and explains that, in his experience, whilst many want to work and integrate, too many refuse to assimilate into German culture and society.

Angela Merkel didn't make it to NY to hear President Donald Trump tell other world leaders, at the United Nations General Assembly, that he would destroy North Korea if "Rocket Man" didn't coöperate.

And those who focus in terms of educational policy exclusively on which party is committed to Islamic religious instruction fail to recognise that the real crux of the matter lies elsewhere: namely, the need for policies that support equal opportunities for all children and young people.

Hurdles: Merkel's natural caution coupled with Germans' fear of instability, a legacy of the fragmentation in the years that preceded the rise of Hitler's Nazi party. The Left and AfD, however, are excluded.

"To support the AfD publicly in Germany leads to social and economic ostracism".