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Old 28.09.2016, 10:10
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Re: The Brexit referendum thread: potential consequences for GB, EU and the Brits in

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I'm not so sure.

Without Merkel's backing, I doubt there would be a Juncker or a Schultz.

Also, Merkel is not going to vanish into a vacuum. There will be a struggle over who will succeed her and in this respect the lines are already being drawn. The Bavarian faction is going to seek to take control and is trying to present itself as a AfD light. They may have a lot of sympathy among rank and file CDU membership, but among the non-Bavarian voting population as a whole the CSU has never been and is not presently seen as being very viable.

Another contender is Schäuble. He lacks in charisma, but he sticks to his guns and is a firm defender of fiscal responsibility. He has a tendency to talk down at people and is not very diplomatic, but I think a lot of people like him all the same. He is already taking pot shots at people like Maas indicating there will be a shift to the right, but less extreme than what the CSU is proposing. But how will the SPD react to that? Will it end the coalition, or can the CSU strong-arm the SPD into changing its course?

But more important than any of these questions is the realization that whatever or whoever replaces Merkel will be the CDU's last chance. Voters are ready to give a party a second chance, but not a third. If Merkel's successor messes up, and the probability of that is high, that is the end of the CDU as we know it. And this has consequences not just for Germany but for Europe.
I think the CDU are done for, at least for the next election. Seehofer has been one of the few politicians that has made the right noises about the migrant crisis throughout. But like you say, I think the Bavarian factor is too big a hurdle. In my opinion Schäuble is far too bitter and miserable too make the top job. Also he wouldn't make a good negotiating partner for Brexit. The AfD and the uncertainty over next year's elections means that anything coming from France and Germany at the moment is virtually meaningless with regard to Brexit talks.
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