Berlin, March 29, 2021: After 16 years in power, Angela Merkel’s CDU has taken a drubbing at the recent elections in the states of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, and now the continued surge in COVID-19 cases and the past mishandling of the pandemic by the government has raised serious concerns about their credibility.
Some regional states are not adhering to the strict rules associated with the “emergency brakes” and that were agreed upon by all the states. The measures include curfews and complete sharp shut down over Easter, particularly on sports and leisure activities.
Germany handled the first wave of the pandemic admirably, but has struggled to contain new infections since they began spiralling out of control in a second wave late last year. The regional leaders are now refusing to completely shut-down businesses for fear of an economic crisis, while Merkel herself, is concerned with limiting the amount of critical patients amid expert warnings of medical facilities being filled to capacity. Merkel has since publicly apologized to the people for lifting restrictions earlier on, asking Germans to forgive her for the “mistake”.
Health Minister Jens Spahn on Saturday said the whole country needed “another ten, 14 days of real shutdown of our contacts and mobility” to bring infections under control during this dangerous phase, while fears of new mutations mount.
Add to this a slow vaccine rollout, testing delays and a corruption scandal over mask supplies, popularity of Merkel’s CDU-CSU conservative alliance has plunged to new depths just before the general elections in Europe’s largest economy. Merkel staunchly advocated against corruption and said, her party had “no automatic claim on the chancellery”.
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