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Merkel set to win the polls, boost ties with China

China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-12 07:37

With Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian counterpart the Christian Social Union in Bavaria consistently leading the opinion polls, the German chancellor seems set to win her fourth federal parliamentary election on Sept 24.

The opposition Social Democratic Party, the oldest political party in Germany, has been led by former European Parliament president Martin Schulz in the election, in which about 61.5 million people are eligible to vote.

Germany's recent election history shows rarely a single party has won absolute majority in the Bundestag (the German parliament) to form a government. No wonder many observers say the upcoming election could see Merkel's ruling coalition and Schulz's party building a "grand coalition" to form the new government.

Such an outcome should be welcome.

Merkel may have committed a mistake or two as far as her immigration policy is concerned, but she has won widespread praise for her overall leadership. Her government has helped create ample jobs to keep the unemployment rate low-among the lowest in the European Union-prevent the inflation rate from rising drastically, in order to ensure commodities remain affordable for the vulnerable sections of society, and provide attractive social welfare benefits for the people while managing to sharpen Germany's competitive edge and dynamism.

In particular, Germany led by Merkel has helped resolve the EU sovereignty debt crisis by injecting billions of euros in the EU economy. In fact, her efforts have put the EU economy back on the right track. And Germany's development model, which heavily relies on high-tech manufacturing and exports, has proved extremely successful despite being different from those of other EU states.

On the global stage, Merkel and her country are still playing an influential role. And among Germany's many achievements, its active engagement with China in various fields is remarkable. In fact, Merkel is focused on deepening Germany's trade and economic ties with China.

She has visited China at least nine times in 12 years in her capacity as German chancellor. She probably might have visited France on more occasions, given the two countries' pivotal role as EU powerhouses, but the United States has certainly not received the same honor.

Her efforts to deepen Beijing-Berlin ties have paid off, because China overtook the US last year to become Germany's largest trade partner. The two sides even forged a partnership last year to promote soccer, a partnership which goes beyond economic and technological relations.

That Merkel has a better chance of winning the German election should give the West enough reasons to rethink its political maneuverings. Germany has had three chancellors since its reunification in 1990-Helmut Kohl, who died at the age of 87 three months ago, Gerhard Schroeder, Merkel. And all three chancellors have ensured a stable and continuous political and policy environment in Germany, which has played perhaps the most important role in the country's economic success. As such, Germany and China share many factors of success.

In contrast, in many so-called democracies, the rival parties fail, rather don't even try, to identify the common and complementary factors they have with other countries in a bid to lead their countries out of economic and other crises.

Therefore, Merkel's likely win in the upcoming German election should inspire other EU countries to make more efforts to solve their problems.

The author is deputy chief of China Daily European Bureau. fujing@chinadaily.com.cn

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