Merkel’s political and scientific sides slug it out in swan song presser
As she faced a lecture-hall sized auditorium packed with national and international press for the last time in her 16-year chancellorship, there was a sense that the room was simultaneously hearing from two very different people in Angela Merkel.
One was Merkel the politician, unafraid to talk up her achievements, who patted herself on the back for diplomatic victories and expertly fudged answers to difficult questions. The other was Merkel the scientist, who found it hard to skirt around uncomfortable truths and instinctively wanted to scrutinise her doppelgänger’s track record.
Merkel’s training as a quantum chemist has always set her apart from the male lawyers, economists and journalists who held the highest office in German politics before her – as she did not fail to remind her audience on Thursday morning at the last of her annual summer press conferences before she steps down in two months’ time.
At best, the scientific background has made Merkel a politician with an unusually high awareness of there being an objective reality which political language can at best imitate but rarely touch.
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