Chancellor Merkel’s promise “We can do this!” was a rallying call to Germans. Now she is facing growing pressure, especially from the right-wing AfD party, which is stirring up opposition to refugees and Merkel’s policy.
“We can do this!” – a slogan that may one day come to stand for Angela Merkel’s political legacy. In a gesture praised around the world, one year ago she opened her country’s borders for tens of thousands of refugees stranded in Hungary. In total over one million people fled to Germany in 2015. Back home, however, Merkel has faced massive and unprecedented hostility. And the mass sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year’s Eve increased skepticism and doubts as to whether Germany really could “do this”. The right-wing populist party “Alternative für Deutschland” has been stirring up opposition to refugees in order to win votes – primarily from Merkel’s own CDU party. With a year to go until national elections and just weeks before regional and local elections, the chancellor needs to reconvince the electorate of her optimistic outlook.