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tv   DW News  LINKTV  October 7, 2021 3:00pm-3:30pm PDT

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conor: hello, everye, and welcome to “fokus on europe,” and from a germany that's in the midst of election fever. in late september, the eu's most populous country will hold an election that will determine who is going to lead germany after chancellor angela merkel steps down. right now, you find streets and public squares plastered with posters of the three main candidates -- olaf scholz of the social democrats, armin laschet of the conservative cdu/csu, and annalena baerbock of the greens. whichever ones wins, they'll
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have some pretty enormous shoes to fill. angela merkel has been chancellor of germany for an astonishing 16 years. she was the first woman to hold that post, and the first from east germany. even with all the issues and crises she's faced over the years, she leaves office as one of the most influential politicians on this planet. here's a look back as the merkel era draws to a close. reporter: laurence chaperon takes aim at the german chancellor -- and again, and again. she's shot many thousands of pictures of angela merkel over the past 20 years. chaperon is one of the best-known political photographers in berlin. she gets bookings for official portraits from across the party spectrum. laurence: politicians need pictures for one purpose -- to help with a message they want to put across. to me, photography is emotion
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and aesthetics. and if both requirements are met, it's a good picture. reporter: and angela merkel likes how chaperon sees her. one of the most famous pictures of her was made by the french photographer, as were many official portraits. laurence: i like this photo very much. i see a lot in this image that i personally think is very good. and i like the listening aspect of this picture. reporter: angela merkel started out as a physicist before entering politics. she quickly became known for considered and calculated decision-making. mathis: this tendency toward controlled communication is a part of her political style, her way of always keeping her end goal in mind. if you're asking yourself, where do i want to end up, you think about how your communication will help you get that result. so you try to avoid premature, hasty communication. reporter: early in her political career, angela merkel gave little thought to her appearance.
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she had no interest in finding the right hairstyle and outfit for the cameras. mathis: she's had to learn that. she had to learn that carefully staged appearances, and toned-down appearances, made her look stronger, but also more unapproachable and respected. reporter: she turned this to her advantage in 2006, when the global finance crisis threatened to bring entire nations to their knees. merkel's policies of strict austerity earned her little good will in greece, but much respect in germany. chancellor merkel: if the euro fails, europe fails. reporter: she made her position in the refugee crisis of 2015 just as clear, likely merkel's greatest challenge. the chancellor welcomed the refugees and her central message became something of a rallying cry. chancellor merkel: we've managed so much, we'll manage this, too. we can do it. and if anything stands in our way, we'll overcome it. reporter: but in practice, it didn't
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quite work out that way. the eastern european union members, in particular, balked at joining any common policy on the refugee issue. and in germany, right-wing groups stirred up fears of foreign cultures and enjoyed gring support. mathis: i think she was asking too much of the people in the refugee crisis with her very toned-down style of communication. after an initial euphoria, in the end, many people were left feeling quite anxious, a bit steamrollered. reporter: developments in the social media landscape also played a role. photographer laurence chaperon has observed how political communication is waged online in a way that's become increasingly difficult to navigate. laurence: i realize that, sometimes, political issues need a bit more explaining than in one short message. but these days, that's the way communication is done. reporter:
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and some of those messages are unplanned. in 2016, when chancellor merkel seemed to roll her eyes during a meeting with russian president vlimir putinthe image went viral. even after 16 years as chancellor, a face can still be worth a thousand words. another vil momentas merke dresd in a uversity ro duri her lasvisit to t unit stas. it'sften sucmemories that inspira personal observation or two as her time in office draws to a close. chancellor merkel: i suppose that out of force of habit, i'll be thinking about what i have to do next. and then i'll suddenly realize that's someone else's job. i think i'll like that quite a bit. mathis: i think people in this count will miss angela merkel's toned-down political style and toned-down political communication. everything around us is becoming more hectic. social media messages will be shorter, snappier. in terms of communication, angela merkel is an oasis of calm. it doesn't do any good if politics are just as keyed up as the media. reporter:
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laurence chaperon will be photographing angela merkel's successor as well. and the new chancellor will have plenty of decisions to make about what to do the same, and what to do differently. conor: what to do differently. heading into the final stretch of the campaign, the three main candidates are all busy making their case. annalena baerbock of the greens, armin laschet of the christian democrats, and olaf scholz of the social democrats. here's a look at the three contenders. reporter: is this a photo shoot with germany's next chancellor? with every campaign stop, olaf scholz seems to move closer to his goal. polls show him as the most popular candidate in the race to succeed angela merkel. his social democratic party is the junior partner in the coalition with merkel's conservatives. scholz is the current finance
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minister and merkel's vice-chancellor. scholz comes across as pragmatic and efficient, in a crisis. at the peak of the covid pandemic, the finance minister set aside his customary restraint, secured the needed funding, and propped up germany's economy. olaf: i have a good and clear plan for at needs to be done to make sure that we see more respect in our society, and that we can lay the economic groundwork for us to have good jobs 10, 20, 30 years from now. reporter: until a few weeks ago, the social democrats were trailing far behind the conservatives and even the greens. but then came a turn -- the spd suddenly moved to the front of the polls. it appears that scholz's years of experience might be making a difference. armin laschet has many faces -- he's a dedicated european unionist, catholic, and carnival fan. for the past four years, he's been prime minister of north rhine-westphalia, germany's most populous state.
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close ally of gela merl, in january, he was named head of the conservative christian democratic union and quickly made known that, above all, he stood for continuity. armin: all europe is keeping a close eye onho germany puts in charge during this phase. when it comes to problems that ve a globadimension, we need multilateral solutions. reporter: but does he have the right stuff to become germany's chancellor? the polls indicate that a majority of germans aren't quite willing to entrust him with the leadership of europe's biggest national economy. in recent weeks, support for him and the conservative cdu has slumped to a record low. the competition has pulled ahead. but laschet is determined. at age 40, annalena baerbock has already made history. she's the first candidate the greens have ever fielded for chancellor. she and her party have big plans for change.
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annalena: we've come to a moment when we as a society, as a country, can make a decision -- do we carry on as usual, or do we dare to make a real change and revitalize our country? reporter: baerbock and her party call for greater european-union solidarity and, together with the united states, a tougher course against russia and china. but they give the highest priority to the struggle against global heating. for a few weeks last spring, with the greens' approval rating soaring, it looked as if she had a very real chance of succeeding angela merkel. but a series of blunders appear to have cost her the lead. even so, it will be all but impossible to form a governing coalition without the greens. so, either way, annalena baerbock and her party are likely to have a big say in germany's future.
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conor: well, one issue that's important to germany's future is climate change. the floods that hit the west of the country two months ago made that all too clear. in erfstadt-blessem, which is not too far from where i'm standing right now, the flood caused a huge crater in the earth to just open up and swallow entire houses. we met a resident who's doing his best to come to terms with the devastation. reporter: raphael rill used to walk down during july's disastrous floods, nearby gravel pit ra fu of water. streets were washed out. evything wasipped aw. raphl: down there are the houses that used to be over there. there re five hoes next to th. here's the front door of a house that's no longer standing. reporter: this election, everything is
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different in blessem and its electoral district. even practical matters have been turned upside down. mthat's pblem, becae inr house. geany, votg documents are nt by mailo a home aress. phael's ighbor, vena bachus, is having her mail forwarded to a friend. she hopes that way herlection cuments ll reach h. verena: it's such a bureaucratic thing. if you don't get them, it's not so easto get them sent a second time. reporte somethg else is unusual on e distri's streets -- there are no election placards this yearthe polical parts have agreed n to poticize t suering of fod victi. peop like phael rillave other problems right now. but still, the questions he's aski are extrely political. raphael:
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you realize that climate change doesn't only happen somewhere else anymore. it happens right here. you and that no surprise.change doegermany beara lot ofewhere responsibility regarding climate change, with things li coal mining at sompoint, its effects were going to be felt here. reporter: many people here wish that t gornment hadeen more proa. raphael and verena agreehat prottiochge is need.ffects. then nothing will change. ifi don't say that to absolve, politicians, bause they have more opportunities to effect chan in different ways. maybe wh's happening here now saying from now on, things have elto be different. verena:and fore, i either didn'vote at all, or i just voted for
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someone from one of the really small parties. but i'm going to think more about it this time. i'm ing to look at what the political parties are saying and planning in terms of climate change. reporter: t for no life musto on. raphael's apartment is on the cond flo. it w largelypared fromhe flooding. but now, his landlord wants to moven here. he has to find a new home. his plan ito live in a converted minivan for the time being. raphael: then when i gethis vanit'll be a little home with everything i need. i'll have my clothes and everything a placto cooand to sleep i'll always have my home with me, so i won't be so liky to lose it. it will alys be cle to me.
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reporter: after the election, he plans to take the van to southern europe, faaway from s formerome in bssem, and om gern politi. conor: f years n, manyoung peoplen germy have bn caaigning ainst clate ange. th're inlved in e “fridayfor futu” movent d other environmental groups, and have clearly expressed their dissatisfaction with the status quo. loudly and peacefully. one of those young people ey reallypierre zissel.eard. and in a country where more than half the electorate's over the age of 50, young voters like him are a minority. we paid him a visit in the city of erfurt to find out more about what he feels is at stake. reporter: focused and forward-thinking, working his way up step by step -- that's what fascinates pierre zissel about climbing.
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it's also how he thinks german politics should be. for the 22-year-old, voting is a must. he knows that every young person's vote is important. besides, young people aren't represented enough. pierre: the problem is, is that nobody lobbies for our generation. the older generation has lobbying power. ultimately, the interests of many older people in germany have more institutional representation than those of young people. reporter: not even 1% of lawmakers in the german bundestag are under 30. the voters, too, are mostly older, and vote more often for conservative parties. in erfurt, where pierre lives, one in five residents is over 65, and the number is rising. for pierre, politics doesn't focus enough on what young people need.
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this became especially clear during the pandemic, when many of his fellow students were suddenly dealing with drastic problems. pierre: i lost my part-time job. so did lots of others, for example, in the restaurant business. lots of students had to interrupt their studies when they lost their job. they put their degree on hold or even dropped out. it doesn't get talked about much. reporter: for the past 18 months, pierre has spent a lot of time at home in his shared flat. university was mostly online, and his band couldn't perform. he had to settle for guitar practice in his room. pierre says that now, ahead of the federal election, many of his friends are disappointed with politicians and parties. pierre: in my generation, i see a lot of disenchantment with politics. i see my generation's role as
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exerting pressure from outside, because the parties are stuck in their ways. it's a long road -- from a local association to putting up placards -- before you see you can influence decisions. that frustrates a lot of young people. reporter: that's why pierre sees his place outside the parties. for two years, he's been involved with fridays for future. the climate activist group meets each week. they're currently preparing a demonstration, set to take place shortly before the election. pierre: the 2021 federal election will definitely be decisive. there's no doubt the next legislature will determine whether germany can meet the targets it set for itself under the paris climate agreement. in other words, whether we'll do our part to ensure the 1.5-degree target is met. reporter: time is pressing. and politicians still don't understand what young climate activists like him are feeling. pierre: i'd almost say panic. because we're seeing disastrous flooding all over the world, heat waves, droughts,
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wildfires, and not just since this year. we're seeing countless species of animals going extinct one after the other, and somehow it doesn't bother anyone. we're just smiling as we hurtle toward the abyss. reporter: pierre doesn't think the next government will turn the tide. even after the election, he expects to have to take the struggle for climate action into the streets. conor: now, here in germany, people with immigrant backgrounds are another group who've often felt unheard. even though they are an important and growing part of the electorate. but only some of them have german citizenship, and only some of those actually go out and vote. one local politician, hibba-tun-noor kauser, wants to change that. with the election around the corner, she and her team in the city of offenbach are doing their best to get out the vote. hibba: here's the plan -- keep up the
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good vibes, go down to the river, and try to strike up a coersations th people. hib1 years old, a member of the local social democrats, and has a seat othe local council. she wants german politics to beme more dirse. e was bo in a germ regee ceer, afteher rents fled religious persecution in pakistan. hibba kauser lives in the city over 60% of the residents here have foreign roots, or their parents or grandparents did. only one in four holds german tizenship and cavote. average, ey earn ss than non-migrantsand they tend to face challees in school and on the job market. hibba: . the general election is on seember 26. ll you ve? >> yes. hibba: that's ol. may i ask which issues are most
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important to you? reporter: the man answers in turkish. >> we're blue collar workers. we want our salaries to reflect price creases. groceries have becommore >expeive, so r salariworkers. we wshou rise o. hibbao reflect yore going to votepd? very goo reporter: the conversations on the street vcontinue. >> i gw up here,'m from offenbach. but i can't vote because i only have turkish citizenship. hibba: yes, it means decisions are made and you have say in them. i really think isucks, to honest. >> what's your name . >> you say it like that, hibba? hibba: hibba, with a “b.” two “b's.” >> okay,ibba. got it. reporter: over 10 million people in germany are not tizens. that means they don't get to vote in the september election. although they live, work, and pay taxes here.
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and those who can te, often don't. hibba kablame. hibba:s year's elethe problem is that theseto people aret reached t to. it's rareldone. hmost tend to target certains elegroups of people who theyto they td to approh whiteepeop. rit to vote. but they don pay attenon to ople whoook like m for example. but when you talk to them, you can te people aropen to sharing at bothershem. rerter: it's raini, so the group takes a brk. manyere belie that racm can only be overcome if german potics becomes more open to immigrants. hibba: youvolved a people theshow istet tell you “wow,ou speak reallyood german." i can tak that f a dayr two, but it' really hurul if pele say that tyou every day.
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>> i know what hibba's talking about. you're beingevalued, just because you look different. hibba: i've bn in sittions,ot in e centerf town tugh, ere peop tolme, “won't vo a foreier like u into parliame.” reporter: hibba-tun-noor kauser has beaten the odds and holds a seat in r city parament. w she wants more peoe from minoty or imgrant germany's national parliament, backgrousthe bundestag.holds a conor: for all of the fans of angela merkel out there, it is finally time to say goodbye, including for alexis vaiou, one of the chancellor's true superfans. as merkel prepares to exit the political stage, he's making sure that everyone who visits his restaurant in bremerhaven in northern germany is reminded of her legacy. report: timeo fix anla merkel' hairdo. the long journey has taken its toll. this wax figure was sent all
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the y fromgermany. china now, it graces the back room of alexis vaiou's restaurant. alexis: i have a new necklace. this oneoesn't st her. thchinese sent it. i have a anoth one, one e likes. did my search. reporter: alexis vaiou has greek roots and grew up in germany. he's a huge fan of chancellor angela merkel. which is why he ordered this merkel figure for his greek restaurant. he's already got a life-sized cardboard cutout of merkel. once, he even met his idol in person. exis: she se me this autograph. he's already got a life-sized “thank you very much and all the st.” sigd by merl. she uldn't com but did meet e second te. repoer: alexis vaiou developed a liking for angela merkel 10 yearsgo,
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during the greek fincial crisis. he was outraged when he saw athens protesters vilify merkel as a ni. alexi thateally, really bothered me. that's why i invited the chancellor to a greek restaurant. i wanted to meet her and show her a different side of greece. these images from that time are so out of place in europe. reporter: despite his evident loyalty, the german chancellery did not endorse tting up t life-siz merkel figure in th staurant. even though none of his guests mind. >> everyone's allowed their own opinion, after all. >> i don't see any reason to laugh or mock it. it's totally fine. reporter: but it's a tough time for the restaunt owner n that meel's rei is ending alexis: i'm sad to see her go. but she's earned it.
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she deserves somtime to herself with her husband. reporter: angela merkel will always be the one and only chancellor. conor: so if you ever find urself missing angela merkel, you know exactly where to find her -- she's at a restaurant in bremerhaven. that was our special broadcast on the upcoming parliamentary elections here in germany, and please feel free to check us out online as well. thank you very much for watching, and on behalf of the whole team here at “fokus on europe,” goodbye, and until next time. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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>> it is 10:00 p.m. this is "live from paris." i'm tom burgess. ." the democrats accept an offer from the republican surveys the debt limit for two months -- two raise the debtimit for two months, meaning the u.s. default has been avoided for now. and the a f

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