A German Eurosceptic party winning enough votes to secure seats in a federal parliament? This was not supposed to happen in a country at the heart of the eurozone, and run by a woman who delights in being called the “most powerful female politician in Europe”.
It has not happened yet, but the chances that the recently formed anti-eurozone party Alternative for Germany will enter parliament are rapidly increasing.
On several counts, Chancellor Angela Merkel has only herself to blame for such a development, which may yet deprive her of outright victory later this month.
Until only recently Ms Merkel and politicians from her ruling conservative/liberal coalition were going out of their way to avoid discussing Europe.
Ms Merkel, who is hardly a politician with vision, chose to sell herself to voters as a master EU summit negotiator who had “fixed” Europe so perfectly for the Germans that the subject was hardly worth mentioning.
It is not difficult to grasp why she chose such tactics. Prosperous Germany is at the eye of the European storm.
The misery in countries like Greece and Spain are off the everyday news agenda and for most Germans, invisible. Practically all of the parties have subscribed to the mantra adopted by Ms Merkel’s mentor, former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, that “German unity and European unity are two sides of the same coin”. Put bluntly, Angela Merkel and her election strategists thought they could get away with it.
Yet her cowardice in refusing to take Europe by the horns during what has been described as one of Germany’s most boring elections on record, has at least livened things up a little.