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Merkel’s opponents see in “AstraZeneca anarchy” an indication of the capture of the crown – politics – reports and translations


When the leader of the German state of Bavaria, Marcus Söder, disagreed with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, over the decision to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, last Tuesday, it seemed to be more than just frustration with a wrong policy. It was a signal that Söder, a loyal ally of the chancellor throughout the period of the Corona pandemic, believes that the time has come to seize the crown of power for himself, and he told German television, “I know many people who will take the AstraZeneca vaccine, now, and I will take it immediately.” Completely.

Chancellor rejects Merkel has rejected calls for the vaccine on television, with the aim of eliminating suspicions from the German people. But she did not heed those calls, and at that time the vaccine had not been approved by the health authorities for those of her age in Germany. And the German people will continue to mention that they refused that request to take this vaccine. Now Söder comes to say that he is ready to do what Merkel has been reluctant to do. It is as if he is telling the Germans that he is the leader who is waiting for his coronation to get them out of this absurd chaos.

German commentators are calling for someone of the courage to do what Merkel did, when she asked her mentor, former chancellor, Helmut Kohl, to step down from the party leadership following the corruption scandal that struck the party in 1999. It was the moment when Merkel managed to seize the leadership of her party.

Söder’s defense of the AstraZeneca vaccine appears to be an attempt to do the same as Merkel has done. In fact, there is no intense competition for the position, because Merkel will step down as chancellor after the September elections.

Polish the image

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At first, it seemed as though the Corona pandemic would polish Merkel’s image and increase her popularity, when she appeared on television and addressed the German people, last year, as she was able to communicate with ordinary citizens in a way that the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the French President, Emmanuel Macron, failed to do. . When Germany survived the first wave of the pandemic with few deaths, compared to what happened in other European countries, it won the gratitude of the German people, which made its popularity rise as it was in its golden days.

But it seems that this has become a thing of the past, as its decision to assign vaccine orders to the European Union changed everything, which made Germany lagging behind America and the United Kingdom in managing the pandemic and using the vaccine, and is struggling to keep up with them. After nearly four months of lockdown, her only message to the German people was that they must prepare themselves for “three or four difficult months to come,” and for the first time during her long reign, Merkel appears dazed and unable to act.

Merkel’s party, the Christian Democrats, elected Armin Laschet, a new leader, last January, and he remained for a while, apparently to succeed Merkel as chancellor. But the strange thing in the German political system is that the parties present their candidates for the chancellery position independently of the leadership of these parties. But the sad results of the local elections, which emerged over the weekend, may have dashed Lachette’s hopes.

Perhaps the historical losses in two traditional party strongholds were a judgment by the voters on Merkel’s handling of the Corona pandemic, more than a judgment on the leadership of Laschet, but he was absent from those defeats, so he did not even bother to appear in front of the cameras, given that the results that appeared today last Sunday.

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Not to take risks

And the party may decide that it cannot risk going to the September elections with such a candidate, unknown, for the chancellery position. For this, Soder would be the only alternative. Soder played the waiting game as he watched his rivals walk away one by one. Among them was Friedrich Meretz, the darling of German companies, whose hopes were dashed when he was defeated by Laschet at the party leadership. The other competitor, Jens Spahn, has shattered his political future himself as a result of his poor performance when he was Minister of Health, while he is facing calls to resign.

Söder, a brilliant politician, publicly defended Spahn even though he stabbed him in the back when he pledged he was ready to get vaccinated. Details of the party’s secret discussions, which were cautiously leaked to the German press, indicated that Söder was pushing for a quick vaccine rollout, while Spahn was reluctant, and Lachit tried to silence his criticism.

For her part, Merkel was more than ready to introduce the idea that Söder is the crown prince, as she traveled to Bavaria to take a number of carefully prepared pictures with him in a Baroque palace, last year. The two were not always close to each other, as Söder was the most important critic of Merkel’s controversial immigration policy, which he called the “open door” policy, and at one point the man seemed ready to leave the Christian Democrats because of Merkel’s immigration policy.

• Perhaps the historical losses in two of the party’s traditional strongholds were a judgment from the voters on Merkel’s handling of the Corona pandemic, more than a judgment on Armin Laschet’s leadership of the Christian Democratic Party.

• When Germany survived the first wave of the pandemic with few deaths, compared to what happened in other European neighboring countries, Merkel won the gratitude and admiration of the German people, which made her popularity rise again, as it was in her golden days.

Justin Hagler – British writer and journalist

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