Will Angela Merkel finally laugh?

Germany will vote for a new leader tomorrow. But as the politics of election play out, here’s a tankard raised to outgoing chancellor Angela Merkel. The PhD in quantum chemistry has been the steady, conservative hand at the German helm since November 2005.

But her leadership has also attested that cliché about Germans — being tight-fisted about laughing. Will she, starting next week, start laughing?

Her style of functioning as one of Europe’s finest leaders has been starkly-opposite of the style of other political leaders of our OTT times. For her, no one-liners, no slogans, no warm-as-toast photo-ops — essentially, no flash that would make popular billboards or campaign ads. This is how, one supposes, Martin Luther would have conducted business: glumly, superbly. Which is what has made the outgoing German chancellor the subject of many cartoons and comedy sketches — including one sketch that shows her maximum level of emoting being the eye-roll. In a landscape littered with the like of huggers, smooth talkers, flesh-pressers, natty dressers and wisecrackers — all matter part of something called ‘reaching out’ — née Kasner Merkel has gone the other direction, closer to Prussian notions of leading with gravitas. To see her either guffaw or giggle after stepping down would be as disturbing to behold as it would be unlikely.


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