‘Get lost!’: Ger­many’s ‘en­raged’ hope to shout down Merkel

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Ostseebad Binz, Ger­many - Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel may ap­pear to be cruis­ing to a vic­tory in next week’s elec­tions, but her cam­paign ral­lies across Ger­many have been plagued by rowdy protesters who have been jeer­ing, boo­ing and even fling­ing toma­toes at her.

From the west­ern univer­sity town of Hei­del­berg to the pic­turesque south­ern city of Rosen­heim and the east­ern heart­land of Tor­gau, protesters bear­ing ban­ners like ‘Get lost’ or ‘Merkel must go’ have sought to drown out the chan­cel­lor’s speeches.

The un­ruly protests have jolted awake a snoozy cam­paign and tar­nished Merkel’s im­age of in­vin­ci­bil­ity, even though her con­ser­va­tive al­liance is com­mand­ing a strong dou­ble-digit lead in opin­ion polls.

They are also com­ing at a time when the anti-im­mi­gra­tion Al­ter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) party has been gain­ing in the polls in the fi­nal stretch be­fore the Septem­ber 24 vote.

All of which has sparked ques­tions about the source of the pent-up anger, par­tic­u­larly since the ex­plo­sively di­vi­sive is­sue of 2015’s mass refugee ar­rivals had seem­ingly faded as the in­flux eased last year.

‘The rage is not fu­elled only by Merkel’s refugee pol­icy, but also by pow­er­less­ness, from the feel­ing of not be­ing taken se­ri­ously by ‘them up there’,’ the weekly mag­a­zine Spiegel said.

Timo Lo­chocki, a po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst at the Ger­man Mar­shall Fund, said the anger had been ‘long in the mak­ing’ be­cause the rul­ing coali­tion of Merkel’s ‘CDU and the So­cial Demo­cratic Party do next to noth­ing to ap­pease these vot­ers’.

An­gela Merkel

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