Stories by Sudha David-Wilp

Expert Voices

Germany's east still catching up 30 years after fall of Berlin Wall

video projection onto Berlin wall with glow reflected in the Spree river
A video installation projected onto the Berlin Wall's East Side Gallery. Photo: Annette Riedl/picture alliance via Getty Images

Saturday marks 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down, but even decades after reunification, more than half of former East Germans feel like second-class citizens and are increasingly expressing their frustrations at the ballot box.

Why it matters: The legacy of 1989 is the power of citizens to bring about change, but today faith in democracy is falling. Although Chancellor Angela Merkel is from the former east, voters there are rejecting mainstream political parties and turning in greater numbers to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Expert Voices

State elections in Germany offer limited relief for Berlin

Brandenburg politicians walking outside
Brandeburg State Secretary for the Interior and Local Government Katrin Lange (SPD) and CDU Brandenburg State Chairman Ingo Senftleben leave exploratory coalition talks. Photo: Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance via Getty Images

The results of two state elections in the former East Germany on Sunday cast a troublesome picture for the region — confirming fatigue with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Grand Coalition government in Berlin and signaling further political fragmentation.

The big picture: Both major parties — the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) — lost voters but managed to hold the line against the far-right, xenophobic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. They will now seek to form a majority and build a coalition with parties other than the AfD, making the right-wing populists the largest opposition party in Brandenburg and Saxony.

Expert Voices

German political shifts leave Merkel's legacy hanging in balance

Angela Merkel speaking and gesturing
German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images

The poor fortunes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party in last weekend's EU parliamentary elections present the latest challenge to her hard-earned legacy.

Where it stands: Although Merkel’s coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD), are in free fall, her popularity has helped the political center hold in Germany much better than in other EU countries. But now the contagion of populist forces and smaller parties that has overrun establishment parties across Europe is also threatening Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU).