Merkel in Crisis

Horst Seehofer and Angela Merkel. Photo: Michael Panse
Horst Seehofer and Angela Merkel. Photo: Michael Panse

After Horst Seehofer, the Interior Minister of Germany has threatened to resign over the new EU migration law, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government came under tremendous pressure.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is the leader of Christian Social Union (CSU), the key ally of Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats (CDU).

Seehfer talked about quitting as the Interior Minister on Sunday after a marathon party meeting. Later, his colleagues persuaded him to meet and talk with Merkel one more time.

Seehfer said on early Monday that “In the interest of the country and the ability by my coalition to act, we want to try to find a way to unify on this central question-border control and refusal, only on this question.”

Seehfer expressed his willingness to act in the statement and hoped to manage an agreement with the Chancellor.

“This is an act of goodwill on my part and another attempt to come to an agreement, otherwise this would have been today,” German Interior Minister Seehfer added.

The CSU leader’s threats to quit the government, however, are not out of blue. He had been demanding for tougher migration policies for long, and recently, had given the chancellor two weeks to strike a deal with the EU leadership that allows Germany to reject asylum seekers who are already registered in a different EU member state.

But the EU agreement on migrants, full of vague wording, requires countries to take in all the asylum seekers and make case by case to send them back.

After the EU deal, Seehfer threatened to resign as the Interior Minister which could potentially lead to the fall of decades old CSU-CDU alliance.

In case of a CSU withdrawal from the alliance, Merkel’s CDU would lose the majority in the German parliament prompting risks of a new election.

The experts, however, threw question over the outcome of the meeting between Angela Merkel and Seehfer as Merkel seems to have a strong position.

Why CSU is doing this?

In a time when nationalists and far-right groups are found rising in Germany, CSU is going to battle in the state elections in Bavaria in October.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) is gearing up its anti-refugee mantras more than ever before which CSU believes challenging their stands on the issues.

So, CSU is on the verge of breaking its decades’ old alliances with the CDU and win the voters in Bavaria for the sake of state elections.

What happens next?

In this context, the future of Germany ruling alliance seems a bit tough to predict. Only the CSU decision after meeting Merkel can tell us if they reach an agreement, or Seehfer resigns to offer CSU to have a new leader and a new Interior Minister or CSU leaves the coalition government to endanger Merkel’s position as the chancellor.

We will have to wait for the final decision of CSU until the meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.

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