How has Angela Merkel been able to hold on to power?

It has always intrigued me how Angela Merkel has been able to weather the current refugee crisis and withering criticism of her. Who is backing her? How has she been able to withstand such popular opposition? What would it take to topple her?
I look forward to your feedback.

Germany is a democracy. The CDU is one of the largest and most dominant parties, and has been for decades. There will be another election in 2017.

This is all Civics 101. What exactly is the problem?

Constitutionally Angela Merkel can be replaced as Chancellor at any time by a majority of the parliament (Bundestag) electing someone else for the office (Section 67) of the German Constitution.

Politically it would be quite costly for the CDU to dump Merkel - she is more popular that anyone waiting in the wings of the CDU, and they’d have to find a coalition partner to elect a new Chancellor. The present coalition partner, the SPD, would very probably balk at it, unless they’d throw them very important political concessions. The Greens and the Left party would not agree to a harder stance against immigration. A coalition crisis ending in premature federal elections would cost the CDU a lot of seats in the present climate - they’d do much better if they held out until the next Federal elections in September 2017.

The three state elections coming up on 13 March are generally considered a major political test. If the CDU does very poorly on that Sunday there may well be an intraparty revolt.

Every head of state faces withering criticism, for the most part it means very little in terms of replacing them.

Thanks Mops. I’m interested to see what happens after March 13.

Article 67
[Vote of no confidence]

(1) The Bundestag may express its lack of confidence in the Federal Chancellor only by electing a successor by the vote of a majority of its Members and requesting the Federal President to dismiss the Federal Chancellor. The Federal President must comply with the request and appoint the person elected.

(2) Forty-eight hours shall elapse between the motion and the election.

Note that this was one of the major innovations in the Basic Law, correcting an issue which had arisen in the Weimar Republic.

Under Weimar, a government could be defeated on a vote of no confidence, without any obligation to propose a successor. In badly fractured parliaments, that led to considerable instability because centrist governments could be defeated by votes of groups of extremist parties who had no intention of working together (eg Nazis and Communists).

Article 67 changed that and said a vote of no-confidence only succeeds if the chamber proposes a new person as Chancellor, and that vote gets majority support. That positive requirement in article 67 is one of the factors which has contributed to governmental stability under the Basic Law.

Head of government in this case. The head of state in a parliamentary system normally doesn’t come in for political attacks.

Merkel is in a position not too different from Obama right now.

IOW, having been the head cheese for a long time, and with comparatively little time left in his/her current term. Meanwhile, during this last term he/she has done some unpopular stuff. Which naturally was much more unpopular with the other party than with his/her own party.

As a matter of law the US doesn’t have votes of no confidence. German law has them, but politically they don’t have much history of actually using that feature. Unlike some other countries which use them often.

Arguably, votes of no confidence promote unstable and spineless government altering course radically in response to the mercurial public mood. Or as noted above, the machinations of extremists. Sort of the polar opposite of stability. Say what you will of German (and to a lesser extent US) politics, but favoring certainty is one of their hallmarks.

Since some of this requires speculation, let’s move it over to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

It’s my American bias showing. Thanks for the correction.

Remember that people in Denmark and Macedonia do not vote in German elections.

But they DO vote in Chicago elections. :smiley:

Only if they’re deceased.

Yeah, but Prez Trump will end that little shenanigans! Let’s see those dead Macedonians climb *this *wall!

American piping in here. From my perspective, I have been quite impressed with Merkel’s “legs”.

When she first became chancellor, it seemed to me she might have difficulty holding on to her position. Now she has weathered several crises, and she currently seems to be the most respected leader in Europe, if not the world. Of course, she is currently dealing with multiple major crises- hopefully, she will end on a high point.

The US Senate has occasionally had votes of no confidence, but they are (legally) meaningless. Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Attorney General Augustus Garland were famous recipients. In both cases they were embarrassing but didn’t actually accomplish anything.

(The Congress always has the impeachment process at its disposal if it is serious about removing an executive-branch officer.)

Huh? They use them every time there is a change in government, including after elections when a new government is elected. The motion for nonconfidence in the current government and proposal for a new Chancellor is how the new government is installed in office.

The grand opening of Germany’s borders may yet be an irrevocable stain on her legacy.

However, on nearly all other issues she has been a stellar head of state. I wonder if her vaunted humanism was worth the risk.

I spoke imprecisely. I was referring to votes of no confidence that are not part and parcel of their normally scheduled elections and subsequent turnovers of leadership.