What could only be described as a political sleight-of-hand, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is suddenly running as a conservative ahead of next year’s general election. Merkel who opened the floodgates of Europe to millions of Arab and Muslim migrants by scrapping the border controls (Dublin Protocol), is now talking tough on mass-migration and calling for a ban on the regressive Islamic garb, Burqa.

“The full-face veil is not acceptable in our country,” Merkel said on Tuesday while addressing her party’s convention held in the city of Essen. “It should be banned, wherever it is legally possible.”

“A situation like the one in the late summer of 2015 cannot, should not and must not be repeated,” Merkel said while referring to the European Migrant Crisis. “That was and is our, and my, declared political aim.”

Around 1000 delegates of Christian Democratic Party (CDU) gave Merkel a Soviet-style eleven-minute long standing ovation as she stood to address the convention. She was pitching for the party’s leadership position. At the end of the day, almost 90 percent of the delegates voted to keep Merkel as the party leader and Chancellor candidate in the next general election scheduled for autumn of 2017.

Merkel’s hold on the party is so complete that she ran for the top position unopposed.

A quarter of a century after the fall of East Germany, Merkel’s CDU today looks more like the East German Communist Party than the Christian- Conservative party she inherited 16 years ago.

Germany’s state-run DW NEWS reported the surprise backflip performed by the Chancellor and her party:

“Multiculturalism has failed,” CDU General Secretary Peter Tauber told the delegates before Wednesday’s vote. “We need a guiding, native culture in Germany. This election is about our values.”

The moderate shift to the right is intended to mollify the conservative wing of the party that had grown increasingly worried about Merkel’s welcoming stance toward refugees from Syria and other crisis regions, which saw nearly 900,000 migrants arrive in Germany last year. But there was no mention of an annual upper limit on the number of refugees to Germany, something demanded by the CDU’s Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) in the paper or at the conference as a whole.

In her keynote address on Tuesday, Merkel charted a centrist course, but in the speeches in the two following sessions, it was clear that the majority of the party is more conservative than the chancellor. The right-wing of the party was particularly pleased by Merkel’s promise that the biggest wave of refugees was over and by her support for a partial ban on wearing burqas in public in Germany.

Merkel’s new-found conservativism means nothing if she is not willing to secure European and national borders and finally put an end to mass-migration.

In 2017, German voters have a choice to make. This election will be first and foremost a referendum on Merkel’s open-border policy.  If the Merkel led-coalition comes out victorious, it will validate her stand on open borders and mass-migration.

It is for the German voters to call Merkel out on this latest sleight-of-hand. Otherwise, as the old maxim goes, “In a democracy people get the rulers they deserve.”

VIDEO: Merkel calls for burka ban ‘wherever legally possible’ in Germany:

[Cover image courtesy ZDF, Youtube]