News analysis

No more wall but divisions remain in Germany

Deep distrust of government remains in former East; breakdown in culture of public debate widens the divide

As they struggle with recent outbursts of unrest in Saxony, German politicians are increasingly divided over how to read the situation and even more over what to do. While Chancellor Angela Merkel is pursuing a rather tough line against the far-right protesters, others are showing a bit more tolerance for them.

Two key observations emerge from recent events: First, there is a deep rooted distrust of many East Germans in government in general. Second, the culture of political debate is largely defective in the country.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2018, with the headline 'No more wall but divisions remain in Germany'. Print Edition | Subscribe