German Youths Yearn For Change After A Lifetime Of Merkel
Berlin, Sept 23 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 23rd Sep, 2021 ) :For millions of young Germans, Chancellor Angela Merkel is the only leader they have known, a beacon of stability in a world plagued by uncertainties.
Voters under the age of 30 make up 14 percent of the electorate in Germany, which goes to the polls on Sunday. Eager to see change on climate issues, many are shunning her Christian Democrats (CDU) party in favour of the Greens.
Some accuse the old-guard parties -- like the CDU or the centre-left Social Democrats -- of failing to bring about meaningful change.
"She has completely failed on digitalisation, the climate crisis has worsened, the gap between rich and poor has widened and she has done nothing about inequality of opportunity in schools," said Christophe Dierckx, a 27-year-old entrepreneur from Frankfurt.
He added that Merkel has largely ignored his generation and their future, practising conservative politics "at its worst".
He's not the only young person to feel sidelined.
After a tv debate between the three main candidates to replace Merkel last weekend, just 11 percent of voters aged 18 to 34 picked the CDU's Armin Laschet as the winner, with 52 percent opting for the Greens' Annalena Baerbock.
Besides anger over the climate, many young people have felt let down by the German government during the pandemic, with a lack of equipment hampering remote learning and promised ventilation systems for classrooms largely failing to materialise.
But for others, Merkel was a much-appreciated steady hand amid a cascade of crises.
She offered stability in the face of financial turmoil in 2008 and the refugee influx of 2015, when Germany left its doors open to hundreds of thousands of Afghans and Syrians fleeing war and conflict.
She has an air of "I am your mother, I'll take care of you", according to the expert -- a demeanour that earned the veteran politician the popular nickname "Mutti", or mummy.
Her exit will be a major change for many young people.
"She had presence and an aura of security," she said.
Yet many among the younger population say it's time for a new government without the CDU.
"A new party at last, or rather a new coalition, would be great," said Mally, calling for increased focus on the climate crisis and inequality.
Their votes could have a real impact on the elections, which are still wide open with the CDU polling just a touch behind the Social Democrats (SPD), and the Greens in third place.
Although youngsters will not be sorry to see Merkel go, Elliot has one thing to thank her for.