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...a sweatshop of moxie

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Angie or Gerry?

It seems the German National Election which took place today has been Florida'ed -- after a full day of voting, the outcome is uncertain.

The reason here isn't pregnant chads, however, but rather what seems to be excessively cold feet for outright change by the always cautious, wary Germans.

It's interesting to see, as ever, international framing MSM reaction to either Gerhard Schröder or Angela Merkel's "win".

Depending on whether a news outlet is centre-right, or centre-left, you get declarations of victory, or tentative suggestions of it, all depending if the result is not what they want.

See if you can guess which is the "lean", just by the headlines:

'Slim victory' for German right (BBC Online)

The worst result (The Sunday Times)

Germany's Merkel leads but fails to win majority in election (Xinchua, China)

News Analysis: Electorate puts off hard decisions (International Herald Tribune)

Merkel fails to win enough votes for German centre-right (Expatica, Holland)

Exit Polls Show Merkel Ahead (The Sunday Telegraph)

Basically, if the incumbent Chancellor has not failed to secure a majority vote, he or she should step down.

Therefore, I'm calling this election for Dr. Angela Merkel, Germany's answer to Margaret Thatcher.

As a woman, this election means not too much to me. Yes, it's true that it's an historic event, to have a female world leader, especially one from a G8 country.

But I've never been of the opinion that just because a person shares my sex, or my skin colour, or my religion, or indeed anything so inconsequential as physical or emotional similarities, should they be worthy of my support.

The only aspect which should matter is:

(1) Will this person be a good, competent leader?
(2) Do they reflect my general positions?

And the answer to both, with regards to Dr. Merkel, is an unqualified yes.

For a nation who would struggle to list a Top 10 of German Women with the same ease we British would, we who have given the world Boadicea, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, Florence Nightingale, Jane Austen, Queen Victoria, not to mention the self-same Baroness Thatcher, -- this is a very special day.

She now takes her place next to Königin Luise -- who fell down on her knees before Napoleon Bonaparte to plead for mercy to Prussia -- and Sophie Scholl -- who was guillotined for her opposition to Hitler -- in the national German Pantheon.

I wish her every luck.


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