Barely a month into her fourth term as German Chancellor, Angela Merkel is facing an open rebellion within her party. Around 100 politicians belonging to her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union (CSU) have published a list of demands urging the Merkel-led conservative alliance to return to its Christian values.
The rebel group, backed by several influential Christian-Conservative politicians including the country’s Health Minister Jens Spahn, wants to reverse Merkel’s open doors policy for migrants and seeks to dethrone her from the party leadership. “One of the goals of the movement is to remove Merkel as the head of the Union at a party conference in the autumn,” Germany’s state-run DW News confirmed.
The German newspaper reported the contents of the policy paper entitled the ‘Conservative Manifesto’, alluding to the Karl Marx’s communist pamphlet published 170 years ago. The full document, however, was not available on the group’s website. Germany’s leading public broadcaster ARD outlined the demands made in the manifesto:
The document calls upon the [CDU] party to change the centrist policy. It attacks CDU party chief Angela Merkel’s refugee policy. The manifesto was issued by the ‘Union of Values’ comprising of politicians from the CDU and CSU parties.
Among their concrete demands are the quick and decisive deportations [of refugees] and the end of the dual citizenship [mainly offered to German nationals of Turkish origin]. They also emphasized the importance of marriage and family as well as the principle of “father, mother and child” as the basic foundation of the society. (…)
Around 100 participants heartily applauded the welcome address of the Minister of Health Jens Spahn. The CDU needs groups like the ‘Union of Values’ and the awareness of a wise liberal conservatism, CDU politician said in his written address. [Translation by the author]
Last September Merkel led her party to its worst election outcome since 1949. With 33 percent of the vote, she managed to form a coalition government with her main rival the Social Democrats. Despite forming this ‘Grand Coalition,’ as the German media like to call it, she holds only a wafer thin majority in the German parliament. Merkel’s weak hold on power makes her vulnerable—even to a tiny band of party rebels.
Merkel’s coalition deal with the left-wing Social Democrats has elevated the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), with just over 12 percent of the vote, to the main opposition party in the German parliament. Post-election, AfD continues to gain popularity, taking second spot in several nationwide opinion polls.
AfD’s surging popularity among electorates has rattled Christian-Conservative politicians, especially those in the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) eyeing at the regional election scheduled for October this year. CSU has lost substantial ground to the AfD in the Catholic-majority Bavaria region. CSU has ruled the southern German state for last 52 years. If Merkel were to become an electoral liability, CSU, with its 46 members in the Bundestag, might consider replacing her with a conservative-leaning candidate.
It still needs to be seen how sincere the members of the ‘Union of Values’ really are in seeking a change of the course for the ruling party. Since 1949 CDU-CSU alliance has fared well sticking to its core Christian-Conservative values. Merkel’s leftward shift has alienated party’s traditional base, paving the way for the AfD to emerge as a right-wing alternative.
It won’t be an easy task to undo the damage done by Merkel’s open doors immigration policy. Germany has been hits by a string of deadly Islamist terror attacks and faces a surge in migrant crimes since the German leader decided to suspend the border controls in the autumn of 2015. It will, however, be a welcome sign to see Christian values and political prudence play a central role in German politics again.
Video: Chancellor Merkel admits the existence of no-go zones in Germany
[Cover image via YouTube]
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.