Europe

The other period that defined her time in power was Europe’s debt crisis, and her tightfisted prescription for long years of painful budget cuts as a way out of it — something many southern Europeans still have not forgiven her for more than a decade later.

“In parts of Europe Ms. Merkel is seen much more negatively than in other parts of the world,” Ms. Foroutan said.

The same is true in Germany itself: Wildly popular in the far more populous West of the country, Ms. Merkel is hated in swaths of the former Communist East, where she grew up. The East has become the stronghold of the Alternative for Germany, a party created on her watch and the first far-right party to have made it into the German Parliament since World War II.

“I know my face is polarizing,” Ms. Merkel conceded two years ago in the eastern city of Chemnitz after it became the scene of violent far-right riots. Toward the end of her time in office, protesters would hold weekly vigils outside the chancellery and show up to public events she attended to shout “Merkel must go!”

At the time, her approval ratings were dropping fast and it looked like she might not make it politically through her full fourth term. It was the pandemic that gave Ms. Merkel, a trained scientist of famously calm temperament, another honeymoon in the opinion polls.

Mr. Scholz, who was her finance minister during the last four years, has a very similar temperament and capitalized on the parallels. “Not that much will change,” he told the staff in the chancellery on Wednesday.

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/08/world/europe/germany-merkel-scholz-chancellor-government.html

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