German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to step down from political office and as party leader of the federal center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in 2021, she announced in Berlin on Monday.
The announcement comes after Merkle’s CDU — as well as their coalition partner, the center-left Social Democratic Party (SDP) — lost more seats on Sunday, October 28, to the center-left Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). Merkel’s sister party, the center-right Christian Social Union (CSU), also lost its majority to the AfD and the Greens in Bavaria, the country’s largest state containing the city of Munich.
The CDU and the SDP, who have been the two dominant political parties in the last 60 years, have been gradually losing support countrywide in recent years to the progressive Greens, the right-wing to far-right AfD, the classically liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), and the left-wing to far-left Die Linke or The Left Party (DL). Many experts believe that financially helping poorer European Union member states, the migrant crisis, and a lack of institutional as well as economic EU reform, may have pressured Merkel to step down.
This not the first time gradual instability and anti-establishment sentiment has plagued western Europe.
From Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom in the Netherlands to Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in France, right-wing populist eurosceptic parties have been making gains in recent elections. However, other countries throughout the continent already have right-wing majority governments in office, including Italy, Hungary, Switzerland, Turkey, and Austria.
Meanwhile, the progressive center-left social democrats and anti-capitalist left-wing to far-left still hold power in the form of coalitions mostly in Iberia such as Portugal and Spain.
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