Balance of Power: Germany’s Iron Chancellor Looks Vulnerable

(Bloomberg) -- Over her 12 years as German chancellor Angela Merkel has become Europe’s preeminent leader, shaping the bloc with pragmatic policies as she tackled the financial crisis, Russian aggression and a historic influx of migrants.

But signs of trouble are emerging at home after a lackluster election campaign left her struggling to piece together a coalition to take power for a fourth term.

Almost eight weeks after the polls closed, negotiators are at loggerheads over key issues including refugees and climate policy — two of the themes of Merkel’s time in charge.

No one is writing her political obituary yet, but a self-imposed deadline is looming Thursday. If talks fall apart it would raise the prospect of a repeat election for the first time in the history of the federal republic. That would call into question Merkel’s future, and French President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to push through euro-area reforms with her help.

The chancellor looked secure when she announced her bid for a fresh term and polled strongly throughout most of the campaign. But a late surge by the far-right anti-establishment group, Alternative for Germany, left Merkel weakened. And reminded the rest of Europe that her chancellorship won’t go on forever.

Balance of Power: Germany’s Iron Chancellor Looks Vulnerable

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Balance of Power: Germany’s Iron Chancellor Looks Vulnerable

To contact the author of this story: Patrick Donahue in Berlin at

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