Angela Merkel was elected to an unprecedented fourth term as Chancellor of the German Parliament. But the historical significance of her victory was overshadowed by the changing landscape in German politics. Her conservative bloc composed of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its sister group, the Christian Social Union (CSU) received its lowest number of votes in 70 years.
It will be difficult for Merkel to form a government that would fully support her policies unless she can successfully create a new coalition. Unfortunately for Merkel the parties in the Bundestag are those with whom she has had fundamental differences in the past.
The loss of votes for Merkel’s conservative bloc confirms a shift in voter confidence from globalist to nationalist ideology. Perhaps the most significant historical development from the German elections was not Merkel’s fourth term as Chancellor but the far right group Alternative for Germany AfD’s entry into the Bundestag.
The anti- immigration and ant- globalisation AfD won 12.6% of the votes making them the third largest group in the Bundestag. Shortly after the elections, Alexander Gauland one of AfD’s top candidates issued a statement addressed to Chancellor Merkel:
“One million people; foreigners, being brought into this country are taking away a piece of this country and we the AfD don’t want that. We say, ‘I don’t want to lose Germany to an invasion of foreigners from a different culture.’ Very simple.”
Germany’s Merkel was widely regarded as the strongest symbol for globalism. The United Kingdom’s Theresa May and France’s Emmanuel Macron are perceived as weak and ineffective leaders. Merkel raised the flag for capitalism in Europe. The apparent defeat of her conservative bloc may have signaled the end of the globalist movement in Europe.
It may have also further strengthened Russian President Vladimir’s Putin position as the most powerful and effective leader in Europe.
The AfD along with other nationalist parties oppose America’s position in Europe and hope to strengthen relations with Russia. For nationalists, the United States embodies globalisation while Russia represents nationalism. They believe the U.S. wants to replace the European Christian civilisation with its culture of global consumerism. Meanwhile Putin is seen as preserving European Christian civilisation.
There is a school of thought among nationalists in Europe that America and its globalist allies are merely using Islam and Muslim refugees to overwhelm European Christian groups. They point to Yugoslavia where America sided with the Muslims against Serbia which is a long-time ally of Russia.
For nationalists, immigration is the by-product of capitalist greed. Globalisation hinders the growth of a culture because developed countries impose their value systems on developing countries. Cultures are eroded and generations begin to view capitalist countries like America as greener pasture. In effect, globalisation creates conditions that encourage immigration.
With AfD’s entry into the Bundestag, Merkel will have a fight on her hands to preserve the ideals of globalisation. In the end what may result is a fragmented parliament moving toward the inevitable nationalisation of Europe.