the exceptional popularity of Angela Merkel, boosted by her management of the epidemic

This time the Reichstag was well guarded. On Wednesday November 18, opponents of the restrictions imposed in the fight against Covid-19 did not replay the scene of August 29, when a few hundred of them tried to storm the seat of the German Parliament ( Bundestag).

But their anger was intact, and Berlin was again the scene, Wednesday, of noisy demonstrations against an Angela Merkel accused of wanting to establish a “dictatorship” by passing a new version of the “law of protection against infections”, compared by its detractors to the one who gave full powers to Adolf Hitler in March 1933.

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These images, however, should not deceive. Admittedly, the German government has come up against, since the start of the epidemic, a resolute and protean opposition, where far-right activists with factious inclinations, fiery conspirators, convinced anti-vaccines and ordinary citizens genuinely anxious to defend fundamental freedoms mingle. . But this opposition remains very circumscribed. In total, less than 10,000 demonstrators were present on Wednesday in Berlin. In July and August, certain “anti-mask” gatherings had drawn two to three times as many people in the German capital.

For Angela Merkel, who will celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of her election as head of government on Sunday 22 November, these figures are rather reassuring. Conspired by a small active minority, the Chancellor indeed enjoys polls that most of her counterparts would dream of. At the beginning of November, his popularity rating reached 74% of favorable opinions in the monthly ARD-Deutschlandtrend barometer, or 21 points more than in March, at the start of the Covid-19 epidemic. She had never reached such a level of satisfaction since April 2015, on the eve of the refugee crisis.

“Sober, concrete and de-ideologized communication”

What are these amazing polls due to? For Thorsten Faas, professor of political sociology at the Free University of Berlin, “Angela Merkel’s popularity cannot be analyzed independently of that of the executive power as a whole, whether it is the federal government or the governments of the various Länder, whose action is welcomed by a large majority of voters ”.

The polls confirm this. In early November, the “grand coalition” in power in Berlin, an alliance of conservatives (CDU-CSU) and social democrats (SPD) laboriously formed in early 2018, was thus supported by 67% of those questioned, i.e. 32 points more than ‘in March, according to the ARD-Deutschlandtrend barometer. And what is true for the Chancellor is also true for the other heavyweights of her team, like Jens Spahn (CDU), the ambitious Minister of Health in whom some already see the next president of the CDU (65% d ‘favorable opinions, + 14 points since March), or Olaf Scholz (SPD), the finance minister (63%, + 17) who announced in August that he would be a candidate for the chancellery in 2021.

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