Dissatisfaction with Angela Merkel’s handling of Covid-19 has led to calls for a limit on the German chancellor’s duration.
Merkel has served four terms in office since 2005, working with five different British Prime Ministers from Blair to Johnson and four US Presidents from Bush to Biden.
But the chaotic handling of the pandemic in Germany in recent weeks has sparked discontent in her own ranks – with Conservative MP Carsten Linnemann accusing Merkel of falling into a ‘comfort zone’ during her long tenure.
“We need a new mechanism: we must limit the Chancellor to two terms,” he said Mirror, while Merkel prepares to bow after the September elections.
Angela Merkel, pictured, is nearing the end of her 16-year tenure as chancellor and is coming under increasing pressure over Covid-19’s German approach.
Germany has only had four chancellors since 1974, and Merkel is not even the longest-serving of those, with Helmut Kohl holding the record for his 1982-98 tenure.
But Linnemann said such a two-term limit imposed on US presidents would force parties like Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) to renew themselves.
He suggested that high ministerial posts and high party positions in the CDU should also be subject to time limits.
‘We were doing well, the economy was buzzing with it. We entered a comfort zone and slept through the opportunity for innovation, ”said Linnemann.
‘Then we suddenly discover during the pandemic, for example, that the entire political purchasing process is not working, from vaccinations to tests. That must be a wake-up call, ”he said.
Political scientist Wolfgang Merkel – no family – also endorsed the idea of term boundaries in an interview with RND
“Ms. Merkel has been in power for 16 years now, her creative energy seems exhausted,” he said.
“It is a structural mistake that our constitution allows people to rule for so long in succession,” he said, pointing to Kohl’s long rule and Konrad Adenauer’s tenure of 1949-1963.
Merkel’s long reign has seen her work with five different British Prime Ministers and four US Presidents (she is pictured here with Tony Blair in 2005)
Merkel isn’t even the longest-serving chancellor in post-war Germany, having teamed up with record holder Helmut Kohl (pictured with a younger Merkel in 1991)
Merkel has long been accused of lacking ideology and preferring to struggle through the series of crises faced by Germany and Europe during her tenure.
She has also spent most of her 16-year term in a loveless coalition with the center-left SPD rather than the CDU’s more natural pro-business partners, the FDP.
The CDU chose another moderate, Armin Laschet, as its new chairman in January, but it remains unclear who will lead the bloc to the September elections.
Markus Soeder, the hard-hitting Bavarian leader, is also seen as a contender for Merkel’s job – though he may decide not to make it a chancellor.
Germany’s protracted lockdown has led the party’s opinion polls to go into free fall, wiping out the bounce the party enjoyed in the early months of the pandemic.
Polls this week show the CDU and its Bavarian allies have only 26 percent of the vote, which would be their worst result since World War II.
A successor to Merkel could potentially form an alliance with the Greens of Germany, who have risen sharply in the polls since the last election in 2017.
But the CDU’s slump also raises the possibility of the party being dumped from power altogether, potentially ushering in the country’s first green chancellor.
Anger at Merkel comes as Germany enters a third wave of the pandemic, as this infection chart shows, which could be the worst yet, according to a top health official
Merkel saw a resurgence in the polls after Germany escaped the first wave with relatively few deaths, but the fatalities rose during the second wave in winter, as seen here.
The virus problem in Germany is set to continue for a while with an official warning from the highest level today that the rising third wave could be the worst of the lot.
Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute, praised the prospect of infections of up to a gruesome 100,000 a day if the virus is not brought under control.
Merkel’s health minister, Jens Spahn, said the German health system could reach its limits in April as the British variant fuels a new wave of infections.
The government is also under pressure over the slow vaccination campaign, which has reached less than 10 percent of Germany’s 83 million inhabitants.
The chaos in the EU’s supply and the public’s reluctance to take the AstraZeneca photo are both responsible for the slow progress compared to countries like Great Britain.
With only a minority of the population vaccinated against Covid-19, the lockdown restrictions have been extended until next month and may become even more stringent.
Merkel tried to introduce an ultra-strict lockdown for five days over the Easter weekend, in which even supermarkets would be largely closed.
But she had to scrap the plan this week amid massive public criticism, prompting her to beg ‘forgiveness’ for what she said was ‘my fault, and my fault alone’.