German Chancellor Angela Merkel dominates her country’s politics, has outlasted all competition as the longest-serving current head of government in Europe, and bestrides the globe as the world’s most powerful woman. Amid the hagiography, however, it is easy to forget that behind all successful politicians lie the sober electoral calculations and coalitions that keep them in power. On the surface, this collection of essays tells readers more than they likely want to know about the German parliamentary elections of 2013. Underneath, however, it reveals the fascinating intricacies and paradoxes of German political life. One learns why the German government is consistently headed by center-right parties even though most Germans vote for leftist ones, why more and more Germans throw their votes away on extremist parties, why Merkel favors a coalition with the opposition rather than ruling alone, why Germany can hold a national election that costs two percent of what an American one costs, why Germans disagree so much about the euro, and much more. Although uneven, the book is a must-read for those who seek to get behind the headlines about the chancellor.
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