German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently announced that she will run for re-election. Part of her plan to remain in power comes with a dramatic shift. Merkel has called for a ban on the burka for the first time. The announcement sparked a standing ovation from her CDU party. The German Chancellor showed her strength behind calls to outlaw burka and niqab wherever “possible.”
Merkel also said that she would avoid a repeat of the huge migrant influx which occurred on her watch last year. “With us, the rule is: show your face, that’s why the full veil is not appropriate, it should be banned” Merkel said. The CDU party wants to ban full face veil in courts, schools and universities; and in roadside police checkpoints.
A full ban, like the one introduced in France, is thought to be incompatible with Germany’s rules. Dutch parliament has also voted in favor of banning the burqa in public places. The Swiss parliament will soon vote to determine if a ban on Muslim women wearing the Burka in public is necessary. Meanwhile, a US state lawmaker cited a law aimed at the KKK to try and ban women from driving in burkas (though the proposal has since been withdrawn).
Merkel’s blast shows a major change in tone for someone who was politically lauded worldwide for opening Germany’s borders to over a million refugees last year. Merkel has repeatedly criticized populist politicians appealing to right-wing voters on their stance. Is her change in tone a desperate attempt for Merkel to secure her fourth-term in next year’s general election?
Merkel conceded that next year’s German election would be more difficult than any she has contested to date; due to fallout emerging from the migrant crisis. She was, however, re-elected as the leader of the CDU party after receiving almost 90% of the vote. Merkel has ruled out a repeat refugee wave, insisting that German law takes precedence over “honor, tribal or family rules; and over sharia law.” In September, Merkel called for tougher guidelines on the burqa, but noted “diversity is the logical consequence of freedom”.
“‘A situation like the one in the late summer of 2015 cannot, should not and must not be repeated,’ Merkel told party delegates. ‘That was and is our, and my, declared political aim,’ she said. While Merkel has continued to insist that Germany will take in people in genuine need of protection, her government has moved to toughen asylum rules and declare several countries ‘safe’ meaning people from there can’t expect to get refuge in Germany.”