Columns, Opinion

SAMPATH: Angela Merkel, populism in Germany and abroad

Imagine a leader who really cares about all of their citizens — one who actually knows what they’re doing. This is what Germany got when they re-elected Angela Merkel last week for her fourth consecutive term as chancellor of Germany.

This European country has done nothing but redeem itself in the last 30 years. A big part of that has been Merkel’s leadership. The way she leads shows her love for the citizens of Germany — and the citizens revere her in the same light.

While the majority of world leaders are men who only seek power for the sake of power, Merkel is different. Not only is she one of the world’s most influential female leaders, but she is in power to take care of the people. She is the caretaker of 82.67 million people — a leader who creates policies that will benefit all of her citizens.

As the head of her party, the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, a centrist party focused on emphasizing the “Christian understanding of humans and their responsibility toward God,” Merkel wants only the best for her people. While the party is Christian-backed, it is clear that Merkel is compassionate toward people of all religious backgrounds. For example, during the migrant crisis in 2015, under Merkel’s leadership, Germany took in nearly 890,000 refugees. Her dedication to not only her people, but to citizens of the world.

One thing that doesn’t make sense to me is how she leads her country in a very moderate manner, when there is clear evidence of the rise of a far-right nationalist group, Alternative for Germany. This group favors Germany’s place in the European Union, but condemns things like immigration and gay marriage — basic human rights. If Merkel is so determined to keep her country a centrist one, then how did the AfD make it so far in the elections? It shocks me as to how they managed to win over 12.6 percent of voters in the final results — almost a seven percent increase from the 2013 elections. In contrast, in France’s elections earlier this year, far right groups were rejected as soon as the elections began.

If Germany continues down this path, especially with such a strong base in the AfD, will the German people begin to change their sentiments on world issues like the migrant crisis? Germany has already taken in a lot of immigrants, so a shift towards the AfD could be bad news all around. It’s also bad news for all of Europe, because if other countries join Germany in keeping out refugees, soon there will be thousands of people with no place to go.

Don’t get me wrong, I highly commend and respect Chancellor Merkel for her patience, commitment, compassion and dedication to her people and to making her country a united one. These are qualities I believe all world leaders should have. The way that she leads is courageous. She is able to take criticism from opposing parties and other countries and still have a positive, logical mindset in the creation of her policies. The kinds of policies Merkel promotes ensures people from all different walks of life the right to a good life, including the values of human rights. She has even promised to listen to the “concerns, worries and anxieties” of voters of the AfD in order to win them back.

One thing’s for sure — Merkel is popular among Germans and around the world. Her policies are clear, and I genuinely believe she is looking out for the best interest of all citizens, not just her own. She is powerful — unfazed by the hatred that surrounds her. Even the AfD can’t stop a force like Merkel now. Congratulations, Chancellor Merkel on all of your accomplishments. You are inspiration to all, including me, the girl who sits here at her computer at midnight, hoping to make a difference one day with her words. Thank you for showing me that it’s always going to be possible for me to reach my goals, no matter what obstacles try and prevent me from getting there.


  1. Well written and your opinions are grounded in reality.

  2. Those people with “no where to go” can easily go a few 100kms and find “somewhere to go” to the richer countries near by such as Saudi Arabia/Dubai/Kuwait etc.(which are richer than some EU countries )

    Instead of travelling 4000+kms to europe and risking death in the Mediterranean sea

    Real reason is literally free benefits. Barely know the language/culture and get free food/health/housing/money and relaxed penalties for committing crimes. You can work work so they can relax with your cash lol

  3. Namu:
    I’m super proud of you for becoming a college journalist! You have grown so much over the past few years! Keep it up!

    Scott Silk