The other period that defined his coming to power was the debt crisis in Europe and his strict prescription of long years of painful budget cuts to get out of it – which many southern Europeans still have not forgiven him. over a decade later.
“In some parts of Europe, Ms Merkel is viewed in a much more negative light than in other parts of the world,” said Ms Foroutan.
The same is true in Germany itself: very popular in the much more populated west of the country, Merkel is hated in parts of the former communist, where she grew up. The East became the stronghold of the Alternative for Germany, a party created under his leadership and the first far-right party to enter the German parliament since World War II.
“I know my face is polarizing,” Merkel conceded two years ago in the eastern city of Chemnitz, after it became the scene of violent far-right riots. Towards the end of her tenure, protesters held weekly vigils outside the Chancellery and showed up at public events she attended to shout “Merkel has to go!” “
At the time, her approval rating was rapidly dwindling and it looked like she might not be politically successful in completing her fourth term. It was the pandemic that gave Merkel, a trained scientist with a reputedly calm temperament, another honeymoon in opinion polls.
Mr Scholz, who has been his finance minister for the past four years, has a very similar temperament and has capitalized on the parallels. “Not much will change,” he told Chancellery staff on Wednesday.