Election 2017: Germany vs. Germany

Over 61 million Germans are expected to exercise their right to vote today, as the political parties declare a campaign ceasefire and allow the democratic process to take place. The indomitable Chancellor Angela Merkel from the Christian Democratic Party is seeking her fourth term, hoping to lead Germany and the rest of the European Union into an unprecedented new era that witnesses Brexit. Has she bitten off more than she can chew? Her incumbent term has been anything but uneventful, and I would venture to say that it might have been her most unpopular term yet, beginning with the refugee situation. Merkel’s style of governance reflects her scientific and academic background: devoid of sentimentality, and multitasking between a control group, several experimental containers, and various test substances she attempts to pass off as antidotes. Results matter in this giant German laboratory equipped with all the modern trappings, some of which the developing countries have never even heard of. Not all of Merkel’s co-scientists are team players, though, nor do they agree with her platforms. How will her past political experimentation affect the voting public? We will find out by 6:00pm with the exit polls. One thing is for sure, the various political petri dishes will be gunning for survival, unwilling to end up in the disposal unit or worse, given the cryonic treatment.

Reichstag luminar_
Expecting the new occupants ©MTHerzog

For me as a non-German observer, and quite frankly, a grateful non-voter, the predominant attitude of many towards these federal elections is an interesting dichotomy of political maturity and disdain. Unlike the USA where there is a clear delineation between Democrats and Republicans, the Germans are no longer faced with a triumvirate, or even a quadriga, but with a bizarre cornucopia of political parties with their own ideologies that catapults your brain into the 8th dimension.

The venerable ancestral wolves such as Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, Liberals, and the Greens are still leading the pack. However, close at their heels is a new generation of political malamutes that are impossible to ignore and will give the older parties a run for their money, splitting the vote into ridiculous percentages that will spell the death of either the Greens or the Liberals. This will result in a Bundestag (parliament) that will spend more time debating than governing and by the time they get their act together and learn to function as a cohesive unit, it will be time to disband and start all over again.

Let’s take a look at the new generation malamutes who are likely to make a lot of noise in the forest and probably make it to the federal zoo, but will not carry too much weight: The right-winged AfD, liberal conservative reformers (the perfect oxymoron), the free voters, the conglomeration of Jack-Sparrow-wannabes aka the pirates, and the united grumpy cats or ultranationalist.

Then there is the endless list of parties that mushroomed among the trees, most of the beginning as activist groups who then decided they should have a political voice. Some classics: the feminists, the ecologists, the die-hard marxists, and the Neo liberals. But then I stumbled on some entertaining examples that makes me wish I had studied political science in Germany instead of the Philippines: the social parasites (their words, not mine), the spiritual violets, and the united vegetarians and vegans. Let’s just say, for politeness sake, that the ancestral wolves and the malamutes will not go hungry.

All roads lead to Berlin, and who will eventually sit in Parliament is anyone’s guess. However, Berlin is a royal circus today thanks to the Berlin Marathon 2017. The weather is most uncooperative, reflective of the political climate. So unless the runners trained in the fog and rain the last few months, the medical clinics will be jam packed the next few weeks.

Stay tuned to the international news for the results. Will it be a venerable ancestor, a malamute or a mushroom who leads Germany? Suddenly Dr. Who makes perfect sense.

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