Merkel successor lashes out against YouTubers over election controversy but CDU problems run deeper
A 27-year old YouTube blogger appears to be the reason for the ruling CDU party’s defeat at the European elections. At least that’s what one might think given what the party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who succeeded Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2018, said on Monday after the CDU got just 28.9% of the vote – a drop of almost 7% from 2014.
In a Twitter post, the politician blamed the media and internet influencers who, as she put it, are “destroying” the party. In a separate comment she accused YouTubers of manipulating public opinion and wondered whether online political discussions should somehow be regulated.
Kramp-Karrenbauer was apparently referring to a video by a German YouTube star Rezo posted days before the election in which he heavily criticized the CDU and its coalition partner, the Social Democratic party (SPD) and called on voters to ditch support for the establishment parties. The video, intended mainly for a young audience, got more than 13 million views and was supported by dozens of other YouTube bloggers, who also echoed his call.
The politician's words sparked anger among rival parties as critics from both the left and the right blamed the CDU boss for attacking freedom of speech. Kramp-Karrenbauer however swiftly brushed aside the accusations as “absurd”, saying that her comments concerned campaign rules, not democratic freedoms.
The CDU leader’s response is a “typical neoliberal reaction,” Martin Dolzer of Die Linke (Left Party) told RT.Also on rt.com Merkel 2.0? Chancellor’s ally Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer elected to lead Germany’s CDU party
“Instead of looking for mistakes which have been made the blame is thrown on someone else,” he said adding that people in Europe are dissatisfied with the national governments and EU bureaucrats alike and feel underrepresented.
The policies of the EU and the German government [reflect the interests] of big companies and especially lobbying groups who have the power to influence politics but have not much to do with normal problems of the population.
Establishment parties irk young voters who are “annoyed that their future is played with by the main political actors” and “want to participate in the decision-making process in society,” Dolzer said. The rise of political YouTube campaigning merely reflects the quest of the younger generation for political participation while conventional figures fail to deliver relevant agenda, Dolzer believes.
The less the political mainstream is able to create discourses which are really attractive the more [the youth] will start to organize themselves.
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