Did Merkel just get rid of her biggest opponent?

On February 12th, Frank-Walter Steinmeier was elected the new President of Germany. Steinmeier is the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and probably the most popular German politician. In the very least, his approval ratings significantly surpass that of Chancellor Angela Merkel. In April 2016, for example, Steinmeier had the highest rating among Social Democrats at 74%. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s rating, on the other hand, was 56%. In September of the same year, he became the single most popular Social Democratic politician with a 73% rating while Angela Merkel claimed only 51%. Over the past few months, Madame Chancellor’s rating has only declined even further as a result of the consequences of her migration policies, such as the Christmas market terrorist attack. 
Donald Trump’s electoral victory in the EU and his harshly critical remarks towards Merkel and her immigration policies have probably also had an effect and given new momentum to Alternative for Germany
On February 3rd 2017, Deutsche Welle reported survey data according to which only 34% of voters are ready to cast their votes for Angela Merkel. Moreover, a different competitor has emerged in the forefront of the political fight, but more on this below.
To say the least, Angela Merkel is not very popular, but is nevertheless an experienced politician. This current leader of German conservatives, it is worth recalling, passed the East German Communist Youth schooling with all of her cynicism and behind-the-scenes intrigues.
As soon as the first reports appeared on Steinmeier’s election as president, I interpreted this as a clear move towards pushing the most popular German politician into the shadows. After all, the post of president in Germany is only an honorary sinecure.
Without a doubt, with this move Merkel wanted to get rid of her most dangerous competitor while she continues to rapidly lose political capital. In addition, it is worth remembering that Steinmeier often talks about Russian-European relations with a fair amount of reason. As a representative of the older generation of Germans, he remembers the stories of the Second World War and the steamrolling might of the Russian army. Last year, he even explicitly commented on this matter and cautioned against driving Russia into a corner and thereby forcing her to defend herself.
It is therefore probably his popularity and “Russophilia” (which is in fact nothing but sanity) that landed him in the presidential post. But the question is: with what was the most popular politician convinced to take this position?
I see no other explanation other than the fact that Steinmeier was forced to agree to go into honorable retirement. Most likely, incriminating evidence was presented to him that we don’t know of yet. 
Yesterday’s Communist Youth Merkel (for comparison, in Russian political circles being called a “communist youth” is abusive and contemptuous, especially towards women) is a master of intrigue. Therefore, I am sure that her opponents will be eliminated with the help of blackmail and intimidation. And this might not necessarily be the handiwork of Merkel herself. Most likely, those people and forces which won Merkel her victory over the more popular and sensible Gerhard Schroeder have applied their skills and wealthy experience. As some German experts believe, Schroeder’s victory was blatantly stolen by these forces and handed over to Angela Merkel. 
But will this technique help Madame Chancellor? There is reason to seriously doubt this.
A new politician and Social Democrat has emerged at the forefront – Martin Schulz. As is clear from all survey data, Schulz has significantly surpassed Angela Merkel and other German politicians in popularity. The new leader of the Social Democrats would receive 50% of the vote if elections were held in Germany this weekend. 
Germans seem to be very tired of their old leader and old ruling party, and need a change of the ruling elites, just as the Trump phenomenon can be explained by Americans being tired of Democrat rule. Perhaps Germans will prove in the upcoming elections that they are also tired of the CDU-CSU coalition and its leader who continues to lose credibility and popularity. 

Originally published on fort-russ.com