Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Next Chancellor

The latest rumors from the Fatherland have it that neither Angela Merkel nor Gerhard Schröder will be long-term chancellors in a Grand Coalition. Rather, both sides are said to be seeking out a compromise candidate. Here are a few politicians who have so far been mentioned:

1. Roland Koch. As the governor of Hesse, Koch has built himself a loyal and conservative following. There were rumblings during the CDU convention that he might make a play to win his party's nomination over Frau Merkel. But Koch is wisely biding his time. And once the dust settles, Germans may turn to him for answers, experience, and leadership.

2. Christian Wulff. Just like in America, there is nothing more interesting than a conservative (at least nominally) winning in a liberal state. Think Giuliani or Schwarzenegger or Bret Schundler--at least for a moment. Wulff governs Lower Saxony, a traditional SPD and blue-collar stronghold. CDU politikers want to know how he does it and can he do it for the nation. Others think of Wulff as a lightweight and still in need of experience. Ultimately he will be one to remember in the next ten years.

3. Peer Steinbrück. The former governor of North Rhine-Westphalia may be down but he's definitely not out. Still involved in SPD politics and a member of the Bundestag, Steinbrück is often mentioned by Social Democratic insiders as the future of a party that has lost its way. But as long as the CDU/CSU have more seats in parliament, Steinbrück is a long shot.

4. Palpatine. Hailing from the Bundesland of Naboo, Palpatine worked his way up through humble origins until reaching prominence in the Senate. He is known to preach peace but willing to take tough actions when necessary. Interested primarily in restoring order to the Republic, which currently has more than 11 percent unemployment, a Chancellor Palpatine may be just the antidote for Germany's woes.

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