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German youth are ‘thirsty’ for change after Merkel

Avatar of Nick John By Nick John Dec23,2023 #German #Merkel #thirsty
German youth are 'thirsty' for change after Merkel 2
German youth are 'thirsty' for change after Merkel 2

As Merkel prepares to close out her 16-year term, some say her slow approach has hindered progress on hot-button issues like climate protection and the race for cyberspace.

Voters under 30 years old account for 14% of the total number of German voters who will go to the polls on September 25 to choose a new prime minister to lead the country.

German Prime Minister Angela Merkel in Burgergarten city, Germany, on September 10.

Others argue that old parties, such as the CDU or the center-left Social Democrats, cannot bring about meaningful change.

`She has completely failed on digitalisation, the climate crisis is getting worse, the gap between rich and poor is constantly widening and she is doing nothing to tackle inequality.`

Dierckx added that Chancellor Merkel has shown she does not care about his generation or their future and only pursues conservative politics `at its worst`.

Dierckx is not the only young person who feels left out in Germany.

The policies implemented by Chancellor Merkel’s CDU party `mainly target older people,` said Kaan Ogurlu, 19, a law student in Berlin.

A youth-led movement in recent years has urged Chancellor Merkel’s government to take stronger action on climate protection.

Environmental activists also took the government to court to raise environmental targets.

After a televised debate last week between three new prime ministerial candidates, only 11% of voters 18-34 years old chose Armin Laschet of the CDU as the winner, while 52% chose Annalena Baerbock from the Green party.

Besides grievances about climate issues, many young people in Germany are also disappointed with how the government is acting during the Covid-19 pandemic.

But to many others, Merkel is still considered a seasoned politician with experience overcoming times of crisis.

She demonstrated a strong and stable mindset in the face of the 2008 financial crisis and the refugee wave in 2015, when Germany opened its doors to welcome hundreds of Afghan and Syrian migrants fleeing war.

For young people, especially those in their 20s, `Merkel’s calm and collected way of governing is very valuable,` said sociologist Klaus Hurrelmann from the Hertie School in Berlin.

According to Hurrelmann, Prime Minister Merkel has the temperament of `a mother who always takes care of her children`.

Merkel’s departure will be a big change for many young Germans.

To Maria Elliot, a 26-year-old biology student from Berlin, Merkel is `an expert crisis manager`.

For many other young people, though, the time has come for Germany to have a new government without the CDU.

Youth votes could have a significant impact on the already tight election, according to opinion polls.

Although many young people will not feel sorry to see Chancellor Merkel go, Elliot still has something to thank her for.

`After 2015, my mother and stepfather adopted a refugee child from Afghanistan,` Elliot said.

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