Electoral carry away a campaign poster featuring German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) one day after parliamentary elections, in Berlin on September 28, 2009. German Chancellor Angela Merkel clinched another four-year mandate in vote, with a score allowing her to dump her "grand coalition" with the Social Democrats (SPD) for an alliance with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP).   AFP PHOTO   DDP / PHILIPP GUELLAND     GERMANY OUT *** Local Caption ***  905744-01-08.jpg
A poster that says "We're voting for the Chancellor" and urging electors to "Strengthen Merkel" by casting both their votes - for the candidate and the party - for her CDU party is taken away a day af

Merkel pushed to turn hard Right



Berlin // Angela Merkel will face increasing pressure to drop her softly-softly style of government and mutate into an Iron Lady after winning a second term in Sunday's federal election. The German chancellor smiled coyly at the chants of "Angie! Angie!" from supporters after the results confirmed her re-election, but she knows that governing will become more difficult in the next four years and her reputation as "Mutti" of the nation may wane as she presides over unpopular economic measures that she shunned in her first term.

Sunday's vote has radically changed the political landscape in Europe's largest economy. The centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), with whom Mrs Merkel's conservatives shared power, have been banished into opposition and Mrs Merkel will be able to form a centre-Right coalition with the resurgent pro-business Free Democrat Party (FDP) which wants to roll back the state, cut taxes and deregulate markets.

Mrs Merkel's beaten challenger, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of the SPD, is expected to be succeeded as foreign minister by the FDP leader, Guido Westerwelle, who backs Mrs Merkel's foreign policy of close ties with the United States and a commitment to the military mission in Afghanistan. Mr Westerwelle will be Germany's first openly homosexual foreign minister. After four years of enforced consensus during which the two biggest parties were locked together in a "grand coalition", German politics will now shift back to old-style confrontation between the Left and Right. Mrs Merkel will have to drop her hands-off, mediating approach to government and start getting her hands dirty in the rough-and-tumble of domestic politics, commentators say.

She now has the coalition she always claimed she wanted, but it remains unclear what she will do with her new-found freedom. She ditched her agenda of business and tax reforms after the 2005 election and looked comfortable governing with the SPD, partly because it gave her an excuse for shelving controversial policies. That helped her become one of the most popular German chancellors in history. Now no one knows what she really stands for. Mrs Merkel kept her campaign pledges vague and focused on promising to get Germany out of its economic downturn. Her plans are as inscrutable as the smiles with which she reacted to her victory. But she was at pains to reassure voters yesterday that she would not start dismantling the welfare state just because she had changed her coalition partner.

"I see my task as being chancellor of all Germans," she told a news conference. "We want to make clear that we are equally interested in the welfare of all the different groups of society. I am not going to change totally just because the government has changed." Mrs Merkel said she planned to start coalition talks with the FDP as soon as possible and to have her new government in place by November 9, the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Her coalition will have 332 seats in the 622-seat lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, giving her a comfortable majority of 20 seats.

"Mrs Merkel must move fast to shed the mask of the perfect pragmatist," said Adam Jasser, the programme director at DemosEuropa, a Polish think tank. "She has become so good at concealing her beliefs that even sympathetic analysts began to say she simply had none. Now is the moment to prove them wrong and to come out with a vision that will help revitalise and modernise Germany and spur a reform drive across Europe."

The FDP was last in government under Helmut Kohl, from 1982 until 1998, and has often been kingmaker as junior partner in German coalitions. It is expected to get four cabinet posts including the economy and justice ministries. Brimming with confidence after it jumped almost five points from the last election in 2005 to score its best result in a national election - 14.6 per cent - the FDP is likely to push for tax cuts and a loosening of rules protecting workers from dismissal.

"I think deep down Merkel would have preferred to stick with the grand coalition," Dietmar Herz, a political analyst at Erfurt University, said in an interview. "Governing is going to get a lot more difficult for her than it was the Social Democrats. "There is going to be a row about what direction her government should take. The FDP wants a different economic policy and there are big elements of the conservative party that were very unhappy about Merkel's shift to the Left in her first term."

Mrs Merkel said her focus was to get Germany out of its worst economic downturn since the 1930s and to tackle the ballooning government deficit, which has surged as a result of corporate bailouts and stimulus packages to cope with the crisis. "If the chancellor continues to play the role of the nation's mummy, she will have difficulties with the FDP and her own party," wrote Süddeutsche Zeitung, a leading centre-Left newspaper. "But if she turns into an Iron Lady, she will lose her kudos and reputation among the population. Which means that Angela Merkel's golden era is over."

foreign.desk@thenational.ae

All We Imagine as Light

Director: Payal Kapadia

Starring: Kani Kusruti, Divya Prabha, Chhaya Kadam

Rating: 4/5

UK - UAE Trade

Total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and the UAE in 2022 was £21.6 billion (Dh98 billion). 

This is an increase of 63.0 per cent or £8.3 billion in current prices from the four quarters to the end of 2021.

 

The UAE was the UK’s 19th largest trading partner in the four quarters to the end of Q4 2022 accounting for 1.3 per cent of total UK trade.

MATCH INFO

Europa League semi-final, second leg
Atletico Madrid (1) v Arsenal (1)

Where: Wanda Metropolitano
When: Thursday, kick-off 10.45pm
Live: On BeIN Sports HD

INFO

Visit www.wtatennis.com for more information

 

David Haye record

Total fights: 32
Wins: 28
Wins by KO: 26
Losses: 4

LEADERBOARD

-19 T Fleetwood (Eng); -18 R McIlroy (NI), T Lawrence (SA); -16 J Smith; -15 F Molinari (Ita); -14 Z Lombard (SA), S Crocker (US)

Selected: -11 A Meronk (Pol); -10 E Ferguson (Sco); -8 R Fox (NZ) -7 L Donald (Eng); -5 T McKibbin (NI), N Hoejgaard (Den)

Essentials

The flights
Emirates, Etihad and Malaysia Airlines all fly direct from the UAE to Kuala Lumpur and on to Penang from about Dh2,300 return, including taxes. 
 

Where to stay
In Kuala Lumpur, Element is a recently opened, futuristic hotel high up in a Norman Foster-designed skyscraper. Rooms cost from Dh400 per night, including taxes. Hotel Stripes, also in KL, is a great value design hotel, with an infinity rooftop pool. Rooms cost from Dh310, including taxes. 


In Penang, Ren i Tang is a boutique b&b in what was once an ancient Chinese Medicine Hall in the centre of Little India. Rooms cost from Dh220, including taxes.
23 Love Lane in Penang is a luxury boutique heritage hotel in a converted mansion, with private tropical gardens. Rooms cost from Dh400, including taxes. 
In Langkawi, Temple Tree is a unique architectural villa hotel consisting of antique houses from all across Malaysia. Rooms cost from Dh350, including taxes.

Five expert hiking tips
  • Always check the weather forecast before setting off
  • Make sure you have plenty of water
  • Set off early to avoid sudden weather changes in the afternoon
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear
  • Take your litter home with you
TECH SPECS: APPLE WATCH SERIES 9

Display: 41mm – 352 x 430; 45mm – 396 x 484; always-on Retina LTPO OLED, 2000 nits max; Ion-X glass (aluminium cases), sapphire crystal (stainless steel cases)

Processor: Apple S9 64-bit, W3 wireless, 2nd-gen Ultra Wideband

Capacity: 64GB

Memory: 1GB

Platform: watchOS 10

Health metrics: Blood oxygen sensor, electrical heart sensor and ECG, 3rd-gen optical heart sensor, high and low heart rate notifications, irregular rhythm notifications, sleep stages, temperature sensing

Emergency services: Emergency SOS, international emergency calling, crash detection, fall detection

Connectivity: GPS/GPS + cellular; Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Durability: IP6X, water resistant up to 50m, dust resistant

Battery: 308mAh Li-ion, up to 18h regular/36h low power; wireless charging

Cards: eSIM

Finishes: Aluminium – midnight, pink, Product Red, silver, starlight; stainless steel – gold, graphite, silver

In the box: Watch Series 9, woven magnetic-to-USB-C charging cable, band/loop

Price: Starts at Dh1,599 (41mm) / Dh1,719 (45mm)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Meg 2: The Trench

Director: Ben Wheatley
Stars: Jason Statham, Jing Wu, Cliff Curtis, Page Kennedy, Cliff Curtis, Melissanthi Mahut and Shuya Sophia Cai
Rating: 2/5

FFP EXPLAINED

What is Financial Fair Play?
Introduced in 2011 by Uefa, European football’s governing body, it demands that clubs live within their means. Chiefly, spend within their income and not make substantial losses.

What the rules dictate? 
The second phase of its implementation limits losses to €30 million (Dh136m) over three seasons. Extra expenditure is permitted for investment in sustainable areas (youth academies, stadium development, etc). Money provided by owners is not viewed as income. Revenue from “related parties” to those owners is assessed by Uefa's “financial control body” to be sure it is a fair value, or in line with market prices.

What are the penalties? 
There are a number of punishments, including fines, a loss of prize money or having to reduce squad size for European competition – as happened to PSG in 2014. There is even the threat of a competition ban, which could in theory lead to PSG’s suspension from the Uefa Champions League.

THE SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Power: 110 horsepower

Torque: 147Nm

Price: From Dh59,700

On sale: now

The specs

Engine: 2.3-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 299hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 420Nm at 2,750rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 12.4L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh157,395 (XLS); Dh199,395 (Limited)

Masters of the Air

Directors: Cary Joji Fukunaga, Dee Rees, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Tim Van Patten

Starring: Austin Butler, Callum Turner, Anthony Boyle, Barry Keoghan, Sawyer Spielberg

Rating: 2/5


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