Global News Journal

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Obama calls German election but Merkel knows he’s got it wrong


Barack Obama might have unrivalled expertise about the U.S. electorate. But the American president showed he’s something of a fish out of water when it comes to the complex world of German politics — where the seeming winners sometimes end up losing and the losers can end up in power with the right alliance.

Obama recently told Germany’s conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel to stop worrying about the Sept. 27 election: “Ah, you’ve already won. I don’t know what you always worry about,” Obama told her in comments captured by a German TV camera at the White House as the two were on their way to a joint news conference.

Merkel looked surprised by his comments — she knows that she doesn’t have anything in the bag yet — even with what might appear to outsiders to be a comfortable 12- to 17-point lead in opinion polls over her main rivals, the Social Democrats, with just 7 weeks left before the election.

Why is that?

Because under Germany’s “fiendishly complex proportional system” , Merkel’s conservatives could beat her rival Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s SPD and still end up without the centre-right coalition they want — or even more dramatically they could win the vote but end up losing power completely.