Merkel takes blame for poor elec­tion per­for­mance

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

BER­LIN (AP): GER­MAN CHAN­CEL­LOR An­gela Merkel took par­tial re­spon­si­bil­ity for her party’s worst-ever per­for­mance in a Ber­lin state elec­tion, ac­knowl­edg­ing Mon­day that her govern­ment’s poli­cies at the na­tional level were a fac­tor.

Merkel pledged to work harder to ad­dress peo­ple’s con­cerns, par­tic­u­larly on mi­grants. Her Chris­tian Demo­cratic Union party, or CDU, re­ceived just 17.6 per cent of the vote in the Ger­man cap­i­tal.

The re­sult means that Ber­lin state’s cur­rent coali­tion govern­ment, in which the CDU is the ju­nior part­ner to the cen­tre-left So­cial Democrats, or SPD, has no ma­jor­ity go­ing for­ward. A three-way coali­tion of So­cial Democrats, the Green Party and the Left Party is now likely in the cap­i­tal.


While the Ber­lin vote was partly seen as a ref­er­en­dum on Merkel’s han­dling of the migrant cri­sis, the state govern­ment has no con­trol over Ger­many’s im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy. The left­lean­ing coali­tion that could now take over of­fice would likely be more wel­com­ing of refugees than the cur­rent state govern­ment.

“I take re­spon­si­bil­ity as party leader and chan­cel­lor,” Merkel said at a news con­fer­ence along­side her party’s may­oral can­di­date, Frank Henkel.

Speak­ing in unusu­ally self­crit­i­cal terms, Merkel edged away from her oft-re­peated mantra – first ut­tered dur­ing the height of the mi­grants cri­sis last year – that “we will man­age”.

Merkel said that while she stands by the sen­ti­ment, some vot­ers had taken it as a provo­ca­tion in view of the mas­sive chal­lenge that the coun­try faces in­te­grat­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of mi­grants.

“If I could, I would turn back time by many, many years in or­der to bet­ter pre­pare the en­tire Ger­man govern­ment and ev­ery­one else in a po­si­tion of re­spon­si­bil­ity for the sit­u­a­tion that hit us largely un­pre­pared at the end of sum­mer 2015,” said Merkel.


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