Is Angela Merkel still in charge?

To describe Ms. Merkel’s current term, which began in 2017, as strategic fatigue would be a friendly understatement. The chancellor appears to not only have lost interest in decision-making. She also shows little resolve to steer the country through a new era of staggering change…

Confronted with these challenges, the chancellor appears to have decided to retreat into a monarchic stoicism. Since she left the leadership of her center-right Christian Democratic Union last year, she has had little to do with day-to-day politics. If she does still lead, she does so behind a veil of seeming indifference…

Ms. Merkel, meanwhile, avoids miscommunication — by not communicating much at all. In a recent awkward appearance, she had herself “interviewed” online by a party member. Instead of answering a slew of easy questions on current events, she rambled on about the past, like the elder stateswomen she is. Obviously, this is the role she sees for herself: an inspiration who has earned the right to rest on her laurels. Germans once called her Mutti — Mum. Now she increasingly appears like Queen Mutti…

Ms. Merkel is clearly tired of the hard conflicts necessary to set a country’s course. She prefers the path of least resistance — even if it is damaging for the nation…

Germany doesn’t need a Queen Mutti. It needs a political authority to help moderate and mitigate growing social cleavages. Ms. Merkel should be so kind as to let the country know whether she intends to become this authority any time soon. And if not, she should make way for someone who will.

 

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