In the last two regional state elections, the FDP entered the homestretch polling at four per cent, but emerged with twice as much on election day. If the FDP score six per cent, Ms Merkel can look forward to a total of twelve years in power – one more than Margaret Thatcher.The two ladies could not be more different. Thatcher loved to polarize and to go straight for the jugular. Ms Merkel, a woman whose soft demeanour conceals a razor-sharp mind, is the ultimate survivor. She smells threats before they materialise; if she can’t deflect them, she will ride them—never mind her previous convictions. When Fukushima erupted, she decreed a shutdown for German’s reactors—even though she had just pleased the utilities by extending their operational lives. She announced the Energiewende—a U-turn toward the Promised Land where only “sustainable” energy would flow. […]
Ms Merkel is just what the doctor ordered for the German soul. She may not enthrall, let alone amuse people. But what her enemies call “opportunism” is precisely her biggest advantage. People need not fear her. She won’t demand too much; she won’t go into a sudden lurch (except for the Energiewende, which catered to German nuclear angst). She will follow or ride the mood of the electorate, never surprising them with ideas that would trigger resentment. She will hold steady. But only so long as resistance does not turn into anger. If that happens, she will yield before displeasure turns into hostility.
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