Pull together in 2019 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 01, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 01, 2019

Pull together in 2019

Angela Merkel urges divided Germans

Acknowledging that her government disappointed many Germans in 2018, Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to pull the country together for 2019 with a call for solidarity and cooperation to overcome deep political divisions.

In her New Year speech, Merkel said she recognised that many Germans "bemoaned" the ruling coalition that took office in March, an alliance of her conservative bloc and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), which has been blighted by infighting.

But she added: "We will only master the challenges of our times if we pull together and collaborate with others across borders."

Germany is still feeling the impact of Merkel's 2015 decision to leave open the country's borders to more than 1 million refugees, mainly fleeing war in the Middle East.

Resentment at that decision helped feed the rise of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), which surged into the Bundestag for the first time at last year's federal election, fracturing the country's political landscape.

Merkel has given up the leadership of her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), but wants to remain chancellor for the remainder of the current legislative period through to 2021 - a goal she referenced again in her New Year's speech.

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