JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
THE GERMANS RE-ELECTED ANGELA MERKEL LAST Sunday, for the third term. Her sweeping victory highlights her astounding popularity among the Germans. And perhaps it’s reasonable, the German economy remains very stable and unemployment is very low. It’s appalling given what’s happening in the neighborhood. Merkel has weathered the storm of the 2008 financial crises and has been very staunch on austerity measures across the Eurozone.
She may not be likeable in the neighborhood, but at home, she clearly deserves the job. She’s been once labelled “The Iron Lady of Germany”. Perhaps she deserves that label. Since the debt-crises began in the Eurozone, many leaders have been booted out. Even the guy she got along with very well, the then French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, wasn’t re-elected last year. She’s held on, and led the Eurozone in very difficult times.
Not everybody likes her though. Jan-Werner Muller wrote in Foreign Affairs last week, “Critics have called her the first “post-political” chancellor – she is a leader without any trace of ideological commitment. Instead she is devoted to process over substance, and willing to adopt any policy position as long as it gives the impression of competence and consensus”. Well, that might have helped her secure her third term in office. Dissatisfaction from critics is attributed to Merkel’s handling of the Eurozone’s currency crises. They see “no sense in adding further billions to euro rescue packages”, writes Carla Bleiker of Deutsche Welle.
Angela Merkel is through now. I believe history will judge her as one of the great “Iron Ladies” of our time. PM
© PHUMLANI M. MAJOZI