Why Angela Merkel has lasted so long

spiked, July 30, 2021.

Now that Angela Merkel’s tenure as Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany is coming to an end, it may be in order to ask how she could hold this office for no less than 16 years. During this period, she came close to transforming a parliamentary into a presidential democracy, not to mention turning herself into something like the unofficial president of the European Union.

In this short essay, I will only briefly touch on the personal and political conjunctures that underlay her rise to power in the 1990s and early 2000s. Instead I will focus on some of the structural conditions that enabled Merkel to hold on to the chancellorship, after seven years of a Red-Green interlude under Gerhard Schröder and Joschka Fischer, successors to the Chancellor of Unity (Kanzler der Einheit), Helmut Kohl – Merkel’s erstwhile patron, whose long time in power Merkel will match and, if the formation of a new government is delayed, as is expected, surpass this year, to become the longest-serving Chancellor since Bismarck. (…)

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