A fourth term for Angela Merkel: The alternatives are frightening

At a moment of unnerving American nativism, Russia’s international subversion of democracy, Chinese expansionism, and European uncertainty driven by a divided Britain’s unhappiness, anything that represents a continuum of live-and-let-live liberal democracy is to be welcomed.

On a weekend when Italy goes to the polls with the very real prospect that the reptilian Silvio Berlusconi, aged 81 and carrying the scars of one court case after another, may again be kingmaker, the deal allowing Angela Merkel secure a fourth term as Germany’s chancellor seems to offer some reassurance. 

The Social Democrats agreed to another “grand coalition” with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. 

The deal was reached despite strident opposition, especially from its younger members, within the Social Democrats. 

How long the coalition will endure or how influential the Social Democrats will be, or will want to be, in modifying Mrs Merkel’s austere economic policies remains to be seen.

However, one thing that does not remain to be seen is the alternative, the what might come next — the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is now the biggest opposition party in parliament so the new government’s stability will be regularly and sharply challenged. 

It is a reality of politics — and life — that before you dismiss one option, the alternatives must be considered. 

In that context, Mrs Merkel’s fourth coming is, for Germany and Europe, very welcome indeed.

More in this Section

Born to survive: Humans defuse population bomb

Sharing information can be the difference between life and death

Growing power of social media - Trying to expose the puppeteers

Twickenham Grand Slam - An inspiring achievement


Join the conversation - comment here

House rules for comments - FAQ


Today's Stories

Man died in doorway after sleeping rough

St Patrick’s Day celebrations: Cold fails to deter as force is with parade warriors

Dancing with the Stars: McGregor knocked out before final bout

Fear of court action delay to Bandon drainage works


The biggest cancer killer will take your breath away

Hopefully she had an idea...

Power of the press: Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks discuss 'The Post'

More From The Irish Examiner