Sad day for Europe : the Bilderber-Merkel coup


Richard Moore

    Mrs. Merkel said she would make close relations with the
    United States a priority for the new government, after Mr.
    Schröder's vocal opposition to the American-led war in Iraq
    strained ties between the two longstanding allies.

I suppose this means more weight added toward the Iran
invasion. We may also see shifts in Germany's dealings with
Russia. Recall this earlier posting about a recent
Bilderberger meeting, where the Merkel plot was discussed:



October 10, 2005 

Merkel to Succeed Schröder as Chancellor of Germany 

BERLIN, Oct. 10 - The leader of Germany's main conservative
party, Angela Merkel, announced today that she had reached
agreement with her political rivals to end Germany's
three-week-old political deadlock by forming a "grand
coalition" government in which she would serve as chancellor.

"We have achieved something big - we have the basis for
coalition talks," Mrs. Merkel, the head of the
Christian-Democratic Union, said at a news conference this
afternoon, announcing the result of several days of talks she
has held with her political rival, the Social-Democratic
incumbent, Gerhard Schröder.

"The C.D.U. will occupy the chancellery," she said.

The coalition talks, aimed at reaching detailed agreement on
the composition and policies of the next government, should be
finalized by Nov. 12, she said.

Mrs. Merkel's announcement appeared to bring to an end to what
the German press has come to call the Chancellor War, in
which, following an inconclusive election in September, both
Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Schröder claimed to have a mandate to
govern, and both insisted on being chancellor in any coalition

But Mr. Schröder has now agreed to step aside after seven
years as the head of Europe's biggest and economically most
powerful country.

According to German press reports, Mr. Schröder has told
intimates that he will play no role in the government but will
engage in different pursuits.

The announcement today was a striking victory for Mrs. Merkel,
51, a pastor's daughter and former academic physicist who now
stands very likely to become Germany's first female
chancellor, and the first chancellor from the former East

But in exchange for her deal with the Social Democrats, Mrs.
Merkel was forced to make major concessions, giving the Social
Democrats control of 8 of 14 ministries in the new government,
including such key ministries as finance, foreign affairs,
labor and justice.

"This new start and coalition offer us new opportunities,"
Mrs. Merkel said at her news conference. "We are obliged to
achieve success. We have to succeed."

Though the terms of the coalition government were outlined
today, Mrs. Merkel still needs  to be formally elected
chancellor by the German parliament, of Bundestag, an event
not likely to take place before November, political analysts

Formally, all Mrs. Merkel announced today was that Germany's
main parties had agreed to enter into negotiations to form a
coalition government. The fact that Mrs. Merkel herself and
the leaders of the S.P.D., especially Mr. Schröder, have
agreed on the basic terms of the coalition almost ensures that
it will be accepted by the party rank and file.

Still, many details of the coalition and the policies it will
pursue have to be worked out, and, experts said, they are
important details that will contain strong indications of the
direction the coalition government will take.

"If the party leaders agree, they will probably be able to get
support of their members at the end of the day," Uwe Andersen,
a professor of political science at Ruhr University in Bochum
said. "But it's still a dangerous business."

Mr. Andersen added: "We'll have to wait to see the content of
the coalition agreement. It will be an important sign of
whether the government is ready to undertake basic reforms or
only reforms too small to get Germany out of a very difficult

Mrs. Merkel said she would make close relations with the
United States a priority for the new government, after Mr.
Schröder's vocal opposition to the American-led war in Iraq
strained ties between the two longstanding allies.

"I am convinced that good trans-Atlantic relations are an
important task and that they are in Germany's interests," she

It will be only the second time in Germany's post-war history
that its large parties on the left and the right will form
what is known as a "grand coalition." Aside from one previous
grand coalition in 1966-69, the Social Democrats and Christian
Democrats traditionally rely on forming stable governments
with smaller parties.

The toughest negotiations in recent days have involved only
four politicians: Mr. Schröder; Mrs. Merkel; Franz
Müntefering, the Social Democrat chairman; and Edmund Stoiber,
leader of the Christian Social Union.

In recent days German voters have come out strongly in favor
of a grand coalition between the two major parties, with Mrs.
Merkel as chancellor.

According to a poll carried out by the polling institute
Forschungsgruppe Wahlen last week, 63 percent of respondents
said they wanted a grand coalition, compared with 25 percent
who opposed it. When asked who they wanted to be chancellor,
47 percent opted for Mrs. Merkel, an increase of 2 percent
from a week earlier, and 42 percent said they wanted Mr.
Schröder, a decrease of 4 percent.

Judy Dempsey contributed reporting from Berlin for this
article, and Katrin Bennhold from New York. Both reporters are
on the staff of The International Herald Tribune.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company 


"Apocalypse Now and the Brave New World"

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