German Press Review: Iron Lady Smelling Like a Rose After Convention | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 03.12.2003
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German Press Review: Iron Lady Smelling Like a Rose After Convention

The Christian Democrat leader Angela Merkel occupied the minds of German editorialists on Tuesday. They gave largely positive reviews on her performance at the party convention Monday.

The delegates understood what their leader was getting at, wrote the Rheinpfalz in Ludwigshafen. This, it said, was to make clear that the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) will only become electable again when it starts calling a spade a spade and tells Germans what exactly will be demanded of them in order for their country to finally move forward.

The Frankfurter Rundschau wasn't sure how it should regard Angela Merkel’s bold position. Was it a program for government, three years before the next elections? Perhaps it was more of a statement of intent, it wrote. One thing it certainly was, according to the Rundschau, was an exercise in group therapy. Angela Merkel has prescribed her party an intensive course in governing capability, the paper said -- and it wondered whether she realizes what exactly she’s let herself in for.

Merkel told her party the truth, wrote the Handelsblatt in Düsseldorf. She got the CDU to commit to a radical course of treatment for the social security system. There’s no point in carrying on just tinkering around with the old one, the paper commented. But, it also wondered whether Merkel will find out that honesty is often a stupid policy. Telling the truth won’t necessarily make her popular, it remarked, with a nod at the continuing popularity of her conservative rival, Edmund Stoiber.

But the General-Anzeiger in Bonn believed Merkel’s confident presentation has increased her stature within the party. If proof were still needed of her ability to assert herself, it wrote, she certainly delivered that on Monday. The paper said that the whispers of ‘she isn’t up to it’ will likely be quieter and more infrequent from now on.

But although Merkel’s performance certainly delighted her cheering audience, the Express in Cologne pointed out that, however confident she is that she and her party can put the country back on track, they’re going to have to wait a
while. All the CDU’s reform plans are just castles in the air, it commented, until they can get back in power.