Yesterday, Mrs. Merkel informed the public, that she is going to run for one more term. So as of yesterday, the campaigns for next year’s election to the Bundestag have officially started.
She gave a press conference, to give this eagerly awaited information, opening with the statement, that with her it takes a long time to consider things and come to a decision, but once it’s decided, she stands to it. And now she is looking forward to gain, keep or regain the trust of the German people for four more years in office.
Whenever Mrs. Merkel really wants to explain herself to the public (as has happened once before at the height of the refugee crisis one year ago), she chooses a certain political talk show host, Mrs. Anne Will, for a one-on-one interview to be aired on ARD, one of the two national broadcast TV channels in Germany. This is quite unusual for a head of government here in Germany, who has numerous opportunities for public communication. I get the impression, Mr. Merkel chooses this format, whenever she wants to make a personal point. She obviously looked for a format giving her the freedom to disconnect from any given cause, frame or time, to just reveal her inner thoughts independent from party concerns, the place of the speech or its cause. And maybe she chose this quite informal way over the press conferences, because she is aware of the fact, that press conferences are hardly ever aired in full, but reporting consists of choice snippets, garnished with lots of opinionated comments. But a personal interview aired on a Sunday evening will reach many more people, who otherwise would not be confronted with her original words and thoughts.
She did this again, yesterday. Explaining her personal motivation to run for a third term. You can watch the 25 minute interview in full here.
Among all her arguments, one struck me personally as very noteworthy. On Mrs. Will’s question, that in the light of the recent US elections and the fact, that Trump was – among other reasons-, also elected, because there exists a huge chagrin with the “establishment” in the population, how come she thinks she is part of the solution to this phenomenon rather than the problem itself?, she answered, and I quote: “Look, I am very hard pressed to accept that partition in the population – where we all have the same and confidential right to vote here in Germany – that one part claims for itself to be “the people” and the other part – I don’t even know who defines that – is then the elite. In 1989, when the wall fell, I got to become – with joy – part of a people, that is able to express its opinion freely and is able to vote. And I don’t exaggerate my part, I have got one vote among all other eligible voters. I have been elected with majorities, that have given me the opportunity for political design. That’s why I think, everybody can play a part in this. But that all of a sudden only the ones that say NO and criticise are now “the people”, and all the others, that go to work everyday and solve problems and try to parttake and not criticise as much or do criticise and offer solutions, that those are suddenly not “the people” anymore, and among them somwhere the elite starts, that, I, personally, can’t and won’t accept. That upsets me sometimes. I understand it such, that I want to help create a situation, where people can live well in Germany, for this, I make my offers to the public, for this, I argue in a democratic way every day, and at every election, everybody can voice their opinion about it. And I am pleased, when people actually do that. I won’t shy away from persuation or the strive to persuade. Otherwise, I don’t like that approach, I am as much “the people” as everybody else.”
I think, I can live with this for four more years. Although I am not one of those eligible voters, here in Germany.