Experience Not Required02 Jun 2005
One interesting thing about Angela Merkel, newly annointed CDU/CSU Chancellor candidate, that I haven't seen anyone mention is that she's never before been actually elected to anything. I don't mean her seat in the Bundestag, I mean to an office where she actually leads a campaign and runs a government, for instance as a mayor or state premier. Leading German politicians have generally cut their teeth at the state level. In fact, I couldn't think of German chancellor candidate who didn't have such experience... I had to turn to Wikipedia.
My first guess was Hans-Jochen Vogel in 1983, but I was wrong. I knew he had been mayor of Munich, but he was also mayor of Berlin... only for 6 months, but Berlin is a state so that counts. The last chancellor candidate without any experience running a state was Rainer Barzel, who lost to Willy Brandt in 1972. The only German Chancellor who, like Merkel, had never been mayor or state premier was
Ludwig Erhard, not a particularly good Chancellor who lasted just 3 years.
Merkel has done well leading the CDU, taming Stoiber and Koch, but does she actually have the experience to run an election and lead a country?