German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose pro-immigration policies made her a close working partner of former President Barack Obama, is facing an uprising within her own party that could see her pushed out of office.
German legislator Kai Whittaker, part of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party, said Merkel’s position is in jeopardy if she can’t come up with a plan to remedy the crisis her open border policies created, Britain’s The Daily Mail reported.
“This is definitely the worst crisis she has faced in her 13 years as German chancellor,” Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank, said Monday, according to CNBC.
Merkel is locked in a duel with Horst Seehofer, chairman of the Christian Social Union, a Bavaria-based party that usually works with the CDU, and Merkel’s own interior minister.
The CSU wants migrants blocked from entering Germany if they are already seeking asylum elsewhere. Merkel blocked a plan last week to make that happen, triggering the dispute.
“As Merkel pulled CDU towards the middle in recent years, not least via her stance on refugees, her Bavarian partners from CSU became increasingly nervous, not least as AfD (a far-right German party) began to gain traction in parts of the population,” said Erik Nielsen, group chief economist at UniCredit.
Merkel’s leadership is at risk, Whittaker said.
Time is running out for clueless Angela Merkel. Her coalition in Germany is on the brink of collapse because her partners in the CSU are sick to death of her lunacy on migration – just like the rest of Europe!
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) June 18, 2018
“We are in a serious situation because the question of the migration crisis evolved into a power question,” Whittaker said. “The question is who is leading the government? Is it Angela Merkel or is it Horst Seehofer? Everybody seems to be standing firm and that’s the problem.”
Merkel is asking for time to stitch together a solution at upcoming meetings with other European leaders. However, Whittaker said the CSU is facing a tough election this fall and cannot wait.
“It is vital for the CSU to win an overall majority because that’s why they have a national importance,” he said.
The standoff “has the potential to diminish the authority of her and Horts Seehofer and it could well be that at the end of next week we have a new situation,” he said.
Whittaker said that by a new situation he meant “probably a new Chancellor.”
Seehofer has the ability to try to impose border controls, which could either weaken Merkel or set up an inter-alliance showdown with the CDU, The Washington Post reported.
Although many see the issue as a crisis, not everyone expects Merkel to emerge the loser.
“Political obituaries for Chancellor Angela Merkel tend to be premature. But the legacy of the 2015 migration crisis could yet force her sudden demise over the next two weeks,” Eurasia Group analyst Charles Lichfield commented on Monday.
New governments have been embracing new policies towards immigration. In both Italy and Austria, new leaders have vowed to crack down on the waves of migrants that began sweeping Europe in 2015.