BERLIN (Bloomberg) - For weeks Angela Merkel has been observing from afar the leader of her once-mighty party, the Christian Democrats, fall apart. The German chancellor finally decided to step in to try and salvage a floundering campaign, but it may be too late.
At stake is not just her legacy, as a veteran who’s governed Germany with a solid mandate for 16 years. As things stand, the motor of the European economy, could move from conservative hands to a Socialist government with potential policy implications for business and markets.
“It matters who runs the country,” the four-term chancellor told lawmakers on Tuesday, evoking a familiar line of attack from the party’s arsenal.
But the red-specter scenario isn’t scaring Germans and implying that the Social Democrats will cast their lot with the anti-capitalist Left, a party that traces part of its roots to the East German communist party, might not be as effective as it might once have been.
The reason is that it’s her own finance minister, Olaf Scholz, who is the public’s favorite candidate. He hails from the SPD and is part of the ruling “grand coalition.” In the mind of voters his temperament is similar to hers and his economic policies during the pandemic were made under her government.
As Merkel addressed parliament, the CDU/CSU bloc led by Armin Laschet was digesting another bombshell. A new survey showed support for Merkel’s alliance dropped below 20 percent for the first time since polls were taken after World War II. Meanwhile, Scholz keeps gaining momentum.