A New Day for Germany

Angela Merkel will be the first female chancellor Germany has ever known.

No matter how hard he tried, Gerhard Schroeder could not change political reality. He conceded today.  

Germany broke new political ground as Angela Merkel won the battle to be its first female chancellor, heading a government uniting the country’s two biggest parties and ending Gerhard Schroeder’s grip on power.

Pressed by reporters how she felt, Merkel broke into a smile. “I feel good, but a lot of work lies ahead of us.”

Schroeder, who has led Europe’s biggest economy for the past seven years, will play no role in the new left-right administration, sources in his Social Democrats (SPD) said on Monday, but secured key ministries for his party.

As luck would have it, I’m heading out to Germany this weekend. I’m sure there won’t be any immediately visible affects from this change of political climate, but it will be interesting to follow this remarkable story from the local perspective.

It’s hard to know right now what overall effects the change will have in American-German relations. I doubt we’ll suddenly see a huge difference in the day-to-day relationship, and I’m fairly certain there remains no chance that Germany will become a part of the Iraq war coalition of the willing. But then again, no one could have predicted that in 2005 the Germans would elect a woman to lead the country.

Never say never.

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