At start of her new term, Merkel clashes with prominent cabinet members from her party: Interview with Florian Gathmann, Spiegel Online

Christian O. Bruch / laif


Germany’s governing parties, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU), are facing controversy this week after CDU Health Minister Jens Spahn accused pro-choice activists of caring more for animal rights than unborn children, and CSU Interior Minister Horst Seehofer claimed that Islam does not belong to Germany.

According to Florian Gathmann, national correspondent for Spiegel Online, Chancellor Angela Merkel finds herself currently at odds with some conservative members of her party, particularly Seehofer. With Bavarian state elections this fall, Gathmann says we’re seeing conservative politicians hope that “by appearing even more conservative than they did in the last year” they can defend the majority of seats against the growing far-right party, Alternative for Germany (AfD).

“We already witnessed this polarization on Wednesday in the general debate,” Gathmann says, where Merkel and CSU speaker Alexander Dobrindt took opposing positions concerning the role of Islam in Germany. “It’s not only about political ping-pong,” says Gathmann. “In the end, it’s about very, very fundamental questions about how this society will work.”

Photo courtesy Florian Gathmann.