German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to win the September 22 national election, securing 3 election wins following the victories in 2005 and in 2009. Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won 41.5% of the vote, outstripping center-left rival Social Democrats, which took about 25.7%.
CDU secured 311 of 630 Parliamentary seats, but its sister party, Free Democrats, failed to reach the 5% threshold necessary to enter parliament, leaving CDU 4 seats short of absolute majority. Now all eyes are on which party CDU will seek a grand coalition with. If Ms. Merkel wins and completes the third 4-year term, she will overtake Margaret Thatcher (11 years) as the longest-serving female chancellor.
The victory of CDU is almost entirely a personal triumph of Angela Merkel, largely owing to support from the young conservatives, also known as “C-Jugend.” C-Jugend is a compound word of C for conservative and jugend for young. It refers to the generation who pursues a different lifestyle from their parents that value family and religion. Merkel won popular support among the young people for stabilizing German economy in the midst of Eurozone’s economic turmoil and lowering youth unemployment rate.
The nickname “Mutti” was first used to describe Ms. Merkel as a “frumpy lady from East Germany,” but now the Germans fondly call her that name to describe her as a caring mother.
Ms. Merkel’s victory is likely to have significant implications for the European Union (EU) as well. Germany, which is also home to European Central Bank (ECB), one of the most important organizations of the EU, can wield considerable economic influence within the union. Countries that were desperate for financial help, such as Greece and Spain, still remember the nightmare of Merkel blocking initiatives like Eurobonds. This is why European media refer to her as an “unofficial Euro chancellor.”
Whether Angela Merkel, Germany’s first and soon-to-be the longest-serving female chancellor, will put Germany on a stable growth path and achieve Europe’s economic stability and development remains to be seen.