I surmise that we must be ready for some critical developments regarding Germany and the EU in the upcoming days. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) will have an ordinary congress 65 days from now. This congress might mark the end of Merkel, who has been the CDU's president for 18 years and chancellor for 13 years. Of course, the course of events up until that day will determine everything. It is alleged that Merkel is preparing to bid farewell after determining the new chancellor candidate for 2020 following her nomination for the CDU presidency in the early days of December.
Last week, as the first sign of a series of unexpected events, Merkel's right-hand man Volker Kauder lost the CDU Federal Parliamentary Group Presidency elections in Berlin. The 50-year-old Ralph Brinkhaus was elected against the 69-year-old Kauder, which was interpreted as the first sign of the end of the Merkel period. This was certainly a major defeat not only for Kauder, but for Merkel as well. Now, all eyes are turned to the results of two upcoming elections. State elections are coming up in two critical states of Germany, namely Bavaria, one of the most prosperous states of Germany, and Hesse, whose economy has improved to a great extent over the past years.
A great fiasco is awaiting the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) for the Bavarian state election on Oct. 14. The CSU is the sister party of the CDU operating only in Bavaria. Always being the ruling party in Bavaria so far, the CSU is now confronting serious challenges due to the rising influence of the Alternative for Germany (AfD). The polls suggest that it is impossible for the CSU to come to power alone. Even worse, no other party is likely to receive sufficient vote share to form a coalition with the CSU. So, it is very hard to pin down what kind of a coalition might be formed in Bavaria as of Oct. 15. But the CSU is already poised to keep Merkel and her refugee policy accountable for the defeat.
The Hessian state election will take place on Oct. 21. Hesse has a successful coalition government comprised of the CDU and the Greens. The polls indicate that if the total vote share of these two parties does not suffice to form a coalition, a government that includes the CDU, the Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) will be highly possible. This coalition model, which is referred to as the "Jamaica coalition," might also be adopted for the German federal government in the post-Merkel period.
In any case, an important decision for Merkel and Germany will be made during the CDU congress in Hamburg in the aftermath of these two state elections. We will see if she will give up or continue.
German media outlets are voicing various possibilities. But apparently, the end of the Merkel period is approaching.
Consequently, it is necessary to express a possibility that interests not only Germany but the EU. The new European Commission will be elected following the European Parliament elections in May, 2019. The assignment of Merkel to a senior office within the EU after 14 years of chancellorship might resolve the CDU's Merkel dilemma while offering a compromising solution model that will satisfy all the parties as much as possible and cause minimum damage. Heading from Berlin to Brussels would be an unprecedented step for a chancellor. Also, Merkel's assignment to the European Commission presidency might be possible despite several EU countries who do not favor the appointment of a German to this seat. In fact, it would not be realistic to think a former German chancellor only as an EU Commissioner. But a possible first step should not surprise us from now on.
Independent of the question of what Merkel's new position will be, we must be ready for a Germany without Chancellor Merkel.