Sunday, December 23, 2007

Müntefering's departure

I didn't hear much about this on the BBC, either. I heard the following comment on France Inter:
Franz Müntefering, qui avait soutenu la politique de réformes de Gerhard Schroeder, et qui poursuivait la même ligne dans le gouvernement Merkel, s’est senti désavoué par son parti et en a tiré les conséquences. Le S.P.D. a entamé un virage à gauche qui n’augure pas très bien de la cohésion à venir de l’équipe au pouvoir. (Dominique Bromberger, Regard sur le Monde, 14 Nov 2007)
Müntefering has been replaced as the the SPD's leading light in the coalition by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, previously Foreign Minister.

Angela Merkel may be weakened in the short term, but her chances of consolidating her power at the next election appear to be stronger. Earlier, the FT had this: 'One SPD cabinet minister says [SPD chairman Kurt] Beck is focusing too much on proposals popular among the grassroots, damaging the party's wider appeal." (3 Nov)  Merkel  herself is criticised for a leftward drift, both by Guido Westerwelle, chairman of the FDP, who said Gerhard Schröder 'had proven a  more determined leader than Ms Merkel, pushing through unpopular economic reforms' (interview with the FT, 8 Dec) and by the the FT's correspondent, Bertrand Benoit, who contrasts the 'blue-eyed advocate of political honesty' (the opposition leader of 2003) with the 'hard-boiled cynic' of today (15 Dec).

On foreign policy, Bromberger again:
Or, Frank-Walter Steinmeier a été l’un des artisans de ce que l’on appelait en 2003 l’axe Paris – Berlin – Moscou. Il est certainement moins proche de Washington que ne l’est la chancelière. Et encore moins qu’elle susceptible de soutenir une attitude un peu belliqueuse du président des Etats-Unis.
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