Angela Merkel accused of ‘avoiding’ tough decisions in panic over next German elections

Germany: Expert criticises politicians for 'avoiding' decisions

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to take power away from the 16 federal states to decide on coronavirus restrictions. The new plan will see the central government take over decision making as Germany battles a third wave of Covid. But a political scientist has said Merkel has been too slow to react and make the tough decisions, as he believes she is fearful of her party, the CDU, election chances at the upcoming German elections following her heavy defeats in the regional elections last month. He also added how regional decision-making in Germany has led to a confusing patchwork approach in responding to coronavirus.

Political scientist Gero Neugebauer told DW News that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been avoiding making the tough decisions on lockdown and Covid restrictions because she is too concerned about the CDU’s election chances at the forthcoming German elections.

He said these electoral concerns need to be put aside and urged Merkel to lead the way for Germany.

He said: “Politicians always say ‘we have to make long terms decisions’ but actually they’re thinking of the next elections.

“That is why they want to avoid uncomfortable, inconvenient decisions – decisions people won’t understand.”

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He added: “But that is a mistake because in times of crisis people want security and they are also prepared to take responsibility but politicians have to lead the way.”

The scientists damming critique of the German Chancellor who will step down this year comes as the country is gripped by soaring Covid infections.

And Angela Merkel and her Health Minister Jens Spahn are now understood to be staging talks with Sputnik vaccine developers as the country grows frustrated with the EU’s vaccine rollout.

Germany is looking to join other European countries – like Serbia and Hungary – who use the Russian developed Sputnik V vaccine as German ministers are growing frustrated at the slowness of the Joint Procurement Agreement and are concerned Germany will not have a sufficient supply of the vaccine. 

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Mrs Merkel was forced to abandon plans for an Easter lockdown after widespread objections from business leaders.

Nevertheless, German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer confirmed on Wednesday the Chancellor continues to support the idea of a short, tough lockdown to curb the spread of the disease.

Ms Demmer told reporters: “Every call for a short, uniform lockdown is right.

“We need a stable incidence below 100,” she said, referring to the number of cases over seven days per 100,000 inhabitants.”

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Merkel is understood to have pressed regional leaders on March 28 to step up efforts to curb rapidly rising coronavirus infections.

One option would be to amend the Infection Protection Act to stipulate what should happen under certain scenarios and which could enable the federal government to enforce a nationwide lockdown without getting approval of the 16 state premiers – including Mr Laschet.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 25,464 in a day, which was 3,576 more than a week earlier.

The 7-day incidence stood at 110.4, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases shows.

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