Germany. The state elections in Lower Saxony in January were seen as an exercise before the federal election in September. The result was a scarce victory for the red-green opposition, which did not seem good to both Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic CDU. The election result meant that the left bloc gained a majority in the Federal Federal Council, the federal parliament’s first chamber.
When elections were held in Bavaria, CDU’s sister party CSU regained its own majority. The downside was that the liberal FDP, the former coalition partner who was also a member of Merkel’s government, was now unable to pass the five percent block.
The same thing happened a week later when the all-German election was held. The FDP received only 4.6% support and ended up outside the covenant day for the first time since the federal republic was formed in 1949. The fall was dramatic; In the 2009 election, FDP received almost 15% of the vote, which was the party’s best result to date.
According to Countryaah, the election, on the other hand, was a success for Merkel and CDU, who won their third straight election victory. Both CDU and CSU increased to a total of 41.5% voter support, but received five seats fewer than required for their own majority. The Social Democratic SPD also rose slightly, to just under 26%, after the bottom listing in the previous election. Both the Greens and the Left lost and ended up at around 8.5%. For the FDP, the disaster election led to the entire party leadership resigning with Vice Chancellor Philipp Rösler in the lead.
The Greens did not want to be part of a government with CDU/CSU and none of the major parties wanted to cooperate with the Left. This left a so-called large coalition with the SPD, which was the case in 2005–09. At the end of November, the parties said they had reached a settlement on government formation, following negotiations where the CDU/ CSU, among other things. assured that no tax increases would occur and the SPD was required to introduce a minimum wage.
In the SPD, a member vote was then held in which a large majority said yes to government cooperation. By mid-December, the new government was ready. Merkel remained as Chancellor, SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel became Vice Chancellor, Frank-Walter Steinmeier returned as Foreign Minister and Wolfgang Schäuble remained as Finance Minister. Germany got its first female defense minister in Ursula von der Leyen.
Earlier in the year, the government suffered a setback when Education Minister Annette Schavan was forced to resign after she lost her doctorate. She was rejected 33 years after writing her dissertation in philosophy, because of allegations of plagiarism.
In May, a lawsuit was opened in Munich against Beate Zschäpe, a member of the neo-Nazi group that was unveiled in 2011 and who committed murder mainly on immigrant backgrounds. Four co-accused were charged with assisting, while the other two in the terror cell committed suicide before they could be arrested.
Results from a census conducted in 2011 astonished when it emerged that Germany had 1.6 million fewer residents than officially estimated. This caused some concern about Germany, in the long run, that the population will shrink, despite increased immigration in recent years. The population figure was 80.2 million.
US President Barack Obama came on a state visit in June, exactly 50 years after John F. Kennedy’s visit and legendary speech at the Brandenburg Gate. Enthusiasm, however, was somewhat subdued by the Germans because of the new revelations about America’s extensive espionage, even against allies such as Germany. Gradually, the criticism grew when it was reported that the US security service NSA had intercepted millions of phone calls in Germany and that Merkel’s mobile phone has also been the target for spying for several years. Merkel personally called Obama to protest.
Germany became the first in Europe on November 1 to officially recognize a third gender. Parents were given the right not to sexually determine children on the birth certificate to enable the child to decide for themselves later in life.
It was revealed in the fall that police found around 1,500 works of art stolen by the Nazis and disappeared since World War II, in an apartment in Munich. The discovery should have been made in 2011 but kept secret. Among the paintings were works by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall, and the total value is estimated to amount to nearly SEK 9 billion.
During 2015, DKK 1.1 million arrived. asylum seekers to Germany. Far predominantly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The violent influx of refugees was a consequence of the West’s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and the impossible situation of over 3 million people. refugees in camps in Turkey. Germany maintained the open-door policy towards refugees that was a consequence of World War II, while almost all other EU countries slammed the door on the refugee flow and instead violated the UN Refugee Convention. However, the concentration of the large influx of refugees in Germany (and secondarily in Sweden receiving over 100,000) created increasing problems for Chancellor Angela Merkel as the German population became increasingly skeptical of the refugees. From September, the country pushed to get the EU to deal with the refugee disaster collectively, but most EU countries – including Denmark and the eastern European countries – closed down on their own and refused to contribute to common solutions. Germany instead resorted to its traditional approach: to buy its way out of the problems. EU offered Turkey 3 billion US $ (and an additional US $ 3 billion) to stop the flow of refugees. However, these steps took effect from spring 2016. The Reichstag expanded the number of “safe” countries that refugees could be expelled to with Albania, Kosova and Montenegro.
Before then, Chancellor Merkel’s popularity had plummeted in the latter half of 2015. Hate crimes targeting refugee centers, refugees and immigrants by right-wing radicals increased dramatically and the radical right wing was generally strengthened. In elections in the states in spring 2016, the right-wing AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) stormed forward. In Saxony-Anhalt it got 24.4% of the vote. In Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Würtenberg it received 12 and 15% of the votes respectively. But there was also a strong response to the rising xenophobia. The election in aden-Würtenberg was won by the Greens, who gained 30.5% after waging an intense campaign to preserve Germany’s open borders for refugees. One third of the party’s voters came from the conservative CDU and were changed precisely because of the Green’s refugee policy.
In December 2016, a discussion began in the German Federal Day on the country’s recognition of the genocide it was responsible for in the first of the 20th century in Namibia. The motive for the debate was an exhibition on Germany’s bloody colonial history in Namibia. Germany had in 1884 begun its conquest of Namibia. In 1904, the Herero people revolted against the colonial lords. The Germans responded ruthlessly again by driving tens of thousands of Herero people out into the Kalahari desert, poisoning their wells, cutting off food supplies and mass-raping Herero women. Tens of thousands of Hereros were killed in the following years. Similar methods were then used against the Nama people. Observers expected that Germany would make a formal apology to the Government of Namibia in 2017 and pay compensation. But the idea was rejected by Herero chief Rukoro, who rejected German checkbook diplomacy. «We will never make peace with the Germans or have their money. Our war continues, “Rukoro declared. (Germany moves to atone for ‘forgotten genocide’ in Namibia, Guardian 25/12 2016).
In 2016, the number of asylum seekers dropped dramatically from 890,000 in 2015 to 304,900 in the first 11 months of 2016. However, it was still more than 300 times more than in refugee-refugee Denmark. Despite tightening throughout the year, the country, together with Italy and Greece, was Europe’s only humanitarian conscience.
During 2016, the Federal Republic’s right-wing swamp organized dozens of demonstrations against refugees and especially against Muslims, and during the first nine months of the year organized 813 refugee attacks and 1803 refugee assaults.
SPD member and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was nominated by the government coalition for the post of president and elected to the Federal Council in February 2017. He assumed the post in March. Steinmeier characterized (as Secretary of State) in August 2016 Donald Trump as a hate preacher. After Trump’s election victory, he refused to congratulate the preacher and instead condemned his views. In June, he had criticized NATO for the alliance saber-rattling with Russia.
The federal election in September was a disaster for the coalition partners CDU / CSU and SPD. The CDU / CSU went back 65 seats to 246, and the SPD went back 40 seats to 153. For a while, the SPD had been forecast to rise after former EU Commissioner Martin Schulz took over the chair of the party. The two major victors of the election were the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), who roared into parliament with 94 seats and 12.6% of the vote. The FDP also came in with 80 seats, after slipping out at the previous election. Die Linke went 5 seats up to 69 and the Greens went up 4 seats up to 67. The AfD was characterized by great internal tensions up to the choice between the party’s more moderate ex-wife Frauke Petri and the Nazi parts of the party. Already in April, Petri had announced that she was not the party’s main candidate, and at a press conference after the election, she announced that she was not part of the AfD group in the Bundestag but was independent. The AfD Congress in December elected Nazi Alexander Gauland as new chairman.
The decline of the old coalition party made it difficult to form a new government. Merkel negotiated several times with the SPD, FDP and the Greens to form a coalition government. Nobody would touch the AfD with a firepit because of the party’s xenophobic policy – unlike Denmark where the Danish People’s Party had been the basis for changing governments for 16 years.
In October 2017, the government approved the sale of 3 Dolphin class submarines to Israel. Sales were worth $ 1.7 billion. US $, of which Germany had to pay 1/3. These were strategic submarines that were intended to fire nuclear weapons and were also used for espionage against Iran in particular. The entire deal was marked by corruption involving both Israel’s corrupt Prime Minister Netanyahu and several of his staff. The submarines were expected to be delivered in 2027. Israel already had 5 submarines of the same class.