Bitching Brew

Monday, October 10, 2005

After three weeks, a German runner-up finally accepts defeat

Gerhard Schroeder, the jovial chap whose party came second in the recent German elections, appears to have finally renounced his claim to be the next chancellor. Worldwide, the machinations of coalition politics often mean that the leader of the largest party doesn't end up leading a country. I'm fine with that... as long as the coalition doesn't include the largest party. It's quite odd that where the first and second-placed parties are forming a coalition, the leader of the runners-up insists he is The Man. Schroeder must have brass balls.

I don't even like Angela Merkel or her policies. But she's leading the major party in the coalition - as determined by the electorate - and thus would be the logical democratic choice to take the top job. But anyway: with ego reeling and dignity leaking, The Man has been forced to come to terms with his defeat. Germany will have its first woman chancellor, and its first leader from the old East Germany. I can't see many positive points beyond those (is it possible to have a more conservative government than a 'grand coalition'?), but hey, as long as she doesn't pull an Austria and renege on previous German commitments regarding Turkey, it's none of my business.

And yes, I know Schroeder's arrogant stance was partly a bargaining chip. That doesn't absolve him from mockery.

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