|An FDJ (DDR communist party youth organization) badge.|
Former DDR communist party youth organization member Angela Merkel today began her third term as German chancellor. Merkel, who is the leader of the CDU - the largest of the two social democratic parties now working together in the new government - was elected by 462 votes to 150 in Germany's lower house of parliament.
Merkel's CDU has long ago ceased to be a conservative party, although German media for some strange reason still insist on calling her a "conservative leader":
The 59-year-old conservative leader accepted the record result and thanked the country's politicians for their trust in her. No chancellor has ever received as many votes by parliament, even though at least 32 members of her own coalition didn't vote for her.
Merkel's new "grand coalition" government -- which partners her Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) -- now holds 505 of the Bundestag's 631 seats. The alliance came about after Merkel's CDU nearly achieved a parliamentary majority in the Sept. 22 federal election, but saw their coalition partners, the liberal Free Democrats, crash out of parliament by falling short of the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats.
The coalition agreement is a compilation of primarily leftist and radical environmentalist items which are not even remotely connected with anything a conservative government would be working for:
Their coalition agreement includes the SPD-backed introduction of a national minimum wage, the continued pursuit of the Energiewende, the country's transition to renewable energy, and a steady-as-she-goes approach to the euro crisis.
The CDU's Bavarian sister party CSU, which still includes a number of real conservatives, is almost fully marginalized in the new government.