Merkel's Rule: from manipulation to conciliation

Angela Merkel steering through troubled times.Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government is seemingly star-crossed as it is experiencing predicaments, one after another. The rough sailing in the turbulent waters of governance has made her shaky in her political beliefs and convictions. In her first stint as Chancellor, she managed to manipulate state affairs with relative  ease and enjoyed wide public support. But the second tenure proved to be a bumpy and tumultuous ride as her political image, as well as legacy, is perceptibly tarnished by successive setbacks.

Either it's the issue of the now infamous unscrupulous financial dealings of former president Christiane Wulf, or the exposition of an underground Neo Nazi murderous racket, who were held responsible for the murder of 10 people, 9 of them from an immigrant background.  Even the retreat in the wake of the Fukuschima nuclear disaster from an erstwhile nuclear energy policy, contributed to the political setbacks which have undermined the credibility and public confidence in the Merkel regime.

On the economic front, she arguably contrived the economic recession in 2008, which engulfed the entire global economy. Consequently, Germany came out of that financial crisis sooner than anticipated. But it seems as if Chancellor Merkel is performing some role in a Shakespearean melodramatic tragedy, in which the protagonists hardly got over one woe to be struck by another in waiting. The ever-widening current Euro crisis is frustrating both the will and measures of her regime to overcome it. Germany has contributed both political will and capital to contain this crisis from plaguing the rest of the EU economies; yet it is weighing heavily on Merkel's government, as it is eroding the cohesion not only between coalition partners but also among the conservative CDU/CSU family.

After much dilly-dallying, the far-fetched notion of streamlining and regulating the individual budgetary policies, and introducing a fiscal discipline making EU member states more monetarily responsible, the fiscal union pact was approved by 25 out of 27 EU member nations. Now it is subject to the respective national parliamentary approval. With this backdrop, Merkel's government has presented this pact this week before the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of Parliament for its approval.
The stumbling block in its adoption is the lacking of a parliamentary two-thirds majority by the coalition government. CDU-FDP ruling coalition commands only a simple majority in the Bundestag and has not even a simple majority in the Bundesrat, the upper house of Parliament.

In such perspective, Merkel resorted to the opposition parties i.e. SPD, Green and the Left party for their support to get it through both houses of parliament. SPD and Green party made their support conditional with the implementation of certain economic measures by the government, such as the introduction of financial transaction tax and wealth tax. Whereas the Left party out-rightly rejected the fiscal union pact, as they termed it unjust and hazardous, having severe implications for pensioners and low wage earners and could potentially cause a rise in unemployment.
The ruling partners are considering this reluctance from SPD and Green to lend their support for the pact's parliamentary approval as blackmailing. They opined that parties should not score political mileage from this issue as it is a matter related to national well-being. This aggrieved sense of political ditching by the government side was further aggravated after they lent unconditional support to the opposition's presidential candidate Joachim Gauck. They were anticipating a reciprocal gesture from SPD and Green at this critical juncture.

While pinning their hopes for reciprocity on the opposition side, Chancellor Merkel has wishfully ignored the changed political scenario where she neither wields requisite numerical strength in parliament, nor enjoys sufficient public support.

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