Monday 27 February 2017

John Downing: Angela goes from austerity queen to an icon for liberals

John Downing

John Downing

Angela Merkel is to run for a fourth term as German Chancellor. Photo: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo
Angela Merkel is to run for a fourth term as German Chancellor. Photo: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

Angela Merkel is an unlikely torchbearer for liberal democracy. But these are strange political times.

The election of Donald Trump as US president, hot on the heels of the Brexit vote on June 23, could be followed by the election of a far-right president in France next May. Suddenly, even leftists are reassessing the Protestant pastor's daughter who grew up behind the Iron Curtain, and has been dubbed the "austerity queen".

The recent seismic shifts in global politics could drive traditionally risk-adverse German voters back into her arms. For many German political commentators, those recent political shocks mean she could achieve a fourth consecutive win in federal elections next September.

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