Angela Merkel’s conservatives gave her an over 11-minute standing ovation after handing her another term as party chief, but also issued a warning in re-electing her with the worst score since she became German chancellor.
With the mixed verdict Tuesday from her party rank and file on her bid for a fourth term, Merkel embarks on her toughest election campaign weakened by her liberal refugee policy that has polarised Europe’s biggest economy.
While 89.5 percent is hardly a score to be scoffed at, it fell just short of the 90 percent of Christian Democratic Union delegates seen as a crucial threshold.
“It shows that she has lost confidence but has not fully regained it,” said Spiegel Online.
Rheinische Post daily agreed, saying that “it is clear that this chancellor is no longer strong enough to simply use ‘you know me’ to win the 2017 elections,” referring to a previous Merkel slogan.
“That attitude, which helped her in the 2013 (general election) campaign, almost led to her doom in the refugee crisis. For too long, she has trusted her party and voters to simply follow her,” it said.