ANGELA MERKEL’S weakening grip on power in Germany slipped even further today as she was forced into a humiliating climbdown over who will be the country’s next president.
By Katie Mansfield | 14 November 2016
EXPRESS — The red-faced Chancellor was left with no choice but to back a political rival for the largely ceremonial role in yet another sign of her hugely diminished influence in Berlin.
Angela Merkel’s coalition partners are desperately trying to distance their overall governance of the country from her individual stance on migration as they gear up for a crunch general election next year.
Both the German leader’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and its allies in Government, the Christian Social Union (CSU) and Social Democrat Party (SDP), have been taking a hammering in the polls at the expense of the anti-migrant, eurosceptic Alternative Fur Deutschland (AfD).
And now, as their coalition becomes increasingly riven with division, Mrs Merkel has been forced to back her political rival for Germany’s next president in a humiliating u-turn.
The German Chancellor’s conservatives agreed to back SDP candidate and current foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier after realising they could not galvanise enough support for their own candidate.
Mrs Merkel’s camp had hoped to promote its own candidate when current president Joachim Gauck retires but chose to back political rival Steinmeier to avoid a long fight with his party, its main partner in the ruling ‘grand coalition’. […]