Merkel returns to power - Germany votes for safe hands

Germany has spoken and, as ever since 1945, it sends in its election results mixed messages, thanks in part to a constitution designed to prevent one party getting an overall majority in the Bundestag.

Merkel returns to power - Germany votes for safe hands

So the choice again is a trusted pair of hands who will cobble a coalition with one or more of the losing parties.

German voters could not complain about lack of choice; in addition to Ms Merkel’s centre right CDU, they had Mr Schulz’s Social Democrats, a party known only as The Left (they’re what it says on their tin), the Greens, the Free Democratic Party comprising classic liberals, and Alternative for Germany (AfD), the radical right party that took almost 5% of the vote in 2013 and whose leader — Frau Frauke Petry — has admitted: “We are here because Merkel’s government failed to deal with important topics of society.”

That they are the first neo-Nazis to win seats since Hitler’s 1933 Enabling Act does not need not be laboured, though it doubtless will be by politicians and observers who prefer heavy hand-wringing to looking at the causes of shifts to right that can be seen not only in Germany but also in, among others, Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and the US.

We welcome Ms Merkel’s victory, and wish her well in her search for ideas for soothing a restive German soul while simultaneously reviving a testy 27-member European Union.

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