Return to Transcripts main page
German Chancellor Angela Merkel Battling To Stay In Office After Coalition Force Collapse. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired November 20, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, two different countries, two very different leaders, both futures uncertain. German Chancellor Angela Merkel
battling to stay in office after Coalition Force collapse. Her close ally Elmar Brok joins us live with what is at stake.
And, Zimbabwean President and dictator for life Robert Mugabe digs in his heels. We'll hear from the countries youth held hostage to this
misfortune. Plus amid all the turbulence churning up the world, imagine an anchor of stability. The queen and Prince Philip celebrate 70 years of
Good evening, everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. The Iron Lady of Europe is de facto leader. Angela Merkel
watches her future slip in to the unknown at this hour. Eight weeks of tough coalition talks collapsed overnight after the country's Free
Democratic Party walked out over disagreements on immigration and energy policy.
In the September elections Merkel's CDU say its worse performance since 1949 while the far right ASD did better than ever and saw MPs sitting in
Parliament for the first time since World War II. After an emergency meeting with Merkel, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the situation
unprecedented today. And, he urged all political parties to work together at this critical time.
FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, PRESIDENT OF GERMANY (through translator): For me it is clear the incomprehension and concern both inside and outside the
country and especially amongst our European neighbors would be great (ph) if the political forces in the largest economically strongest country in
Europe to fulfill their political responsibilities.
AMANPOUR: So, what does all of this mean for Germany which (ph) is the engine of Europe and for Europe itself as it faces existential challenges
and for the survival of populism. Elmar Brok is a member of Merkel's party and he's taking part in coalition talks. He joins me now from Brussels.
Mr. Brok, welcome. You, I believe, saw Mrs. Merkel earlier today. Is that correct?
ELMAR BROK, GERMAN POLITICIAN: I was on the telephone conference with her.
BROK: Where we debated the results from last night.
AMANPOUR: And, what is her mood, what is her intention?
BROK: I think she was in very good form. She was very clear what she wants to do and she is clearly committed to stay on and try to build a
coalition or follow the lines the president receives possibilities (ph) will give. But also be a candidate if there's a reelections (ph) again.
AMANPOUR: So, what do you think? If you're a betting man and you've been though these kinds of talks before, obviously these as the president
himself said are unprecedented in their complexity and their length, what do you think is going to be the outcome? A minority government led by the
chancellor, new elections which the president says he doesn't want or is there some party that she can, even at this late hour, cobble together a
BROK: Look, I think we have some time where there's a similar situation had we had another length (ph) of summer where after long earning season
(ph) agreed party dropout of negotiations and then there was made another coalition and the Prime Minister Merkel (ph).
So, we will see how the talks of the president will go forward and whether he will call another candidate to run for chancellor what he can do and
such a candidate can have in the third round of voting the chancellorship without an overall majority in the parliament.
But there is also the possibility that perhaps one of the other party will join the coalition. The coalition agreement was ready. There were no
principle problems anymore neither in energy nor in migration. It was agreed that, I think, they walked out half an hour before it could have
been finished because -
AMANPOUR: So, why did they walk out Mr. Brok? Why did they walk out if it was all agreed?
BROK: I think - I think the liberals have voted out of the parliament four years ago and now they came back and they have, I think, they're afraid of
their own courage. They do not want to take the responsibility because of further experience four years ago and I think they would not want to take
risk for such a responsibility which is irresponsible and therefore I hope that the president and his (inaudible).
AMANPOUR: Mr. Brok do you think that the chancellor will try to persuade the FDP to come in from his declared position of opposition and try to join
a coalition with her?
BROK: First off, all of our constitution that is now the role of the president. The president will problem this week was a different problem as
he has discussed problems today with a chancellor and then we will receive the outcome of this discussion and then he might take the next decision
whether he proposed (inaudible) four elections of (Europe) for the parliament for chancellor or there will be another round of initiations.
At the end of the day there might be new elections.
AMANPOUR: You see, I was just going to ask you, because around September shortly after the elections when all this coalition talk began you were
quoted saying that new elections would be the least favorable option and that it would potentially give more steam and more weight to the far right,
to the populous to the AFD. Are you still worried about that?
BROK: I am still worried about that. The Germans do not want to have another election. I think all of the democratic parties know that,
therefore everyone has to take this responsibility.
The democratic parties must show that they can act, that they can solve problems and not do this party political fight as the liberals entertain us
at the moment with that. And therefore I hope that the responsibility come back. I fear that the extremist will take an opportunity out of that as
the democratic parties fail to organize a government.
AMANPOUR: I wonder if that has made fear enough to them because that sounds like a lot of pressure that you were just articulating there. The
responsibility of giving and opening that door to those very far right some would say undemocratic parties.
BROK: That's true. We have to make aware what it could mean and to be certain history where we had bad experience because the American republic
and democratic partner and parties stoop not together and then as war came out that we'll be known as the biggest disaster in Europe and Germany and
this is not a danger at the moment, it is a different situation and they're afraid of that.
But never the less we should have a government out of democratic forces and have such in government resist pro European in order to have also our input
in European integration process.
AMANPOUR: Indeed. It comes at a very, very difficult time for Europe, for Germany and for everyone. Elmar Brok, (inaudible), thanks so much for
joining us. Now what does all this mean? What does a political crisis mean for Europe? We talked to Frans Timmermans earlier, he is the first
vice president of the EU Commission and he also is hosting happens to be hosting a major gathering on women's rights today.
Frans Timmermans, welcome to the program.
FRANS TIMMERMANS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: We've often talked about the vulnerability of western democracy at this time so I'm curious, what effect would it have do you believe on
Europe as a whole on western democracy if (Anglo America) either falls or is badly weakened?
TIMMERMANS: Well I think whatever happens in Germany, Germany's a very strong rule of law based democracy. The only thing is, you know we have so
many objects, so many things on our plate, so many things we need to do, that slowing us down is not good for Europe as a whole but that's the only
effect if there is no government. In Germany it might slow us down a little bit but I don't think it would take Europe off course, whatever
AMANPOUR: What does it say to you as a European that the far right could rise again, either in Germany or in deed as we've seen it marching ahead in
Austria? We've seem these very, very troubling marches by the far right really sort of purist ethnic white nationalists in Poland. What is this
mean for Europe?
TIMMERMANS: Well what I see after all the crises Europe has faced in the past 10 years, is that our national politics have become more unstable both
the preferences are all over the place. Parties can grow and shrink over night and so politics have become much more unpredictable and then of
course you don't have these big parties anymore that can form a government on their own.
France is sort of the exception to that rule with Emmanuel Macron. But most other countries are always involved in very difficult and intricate
coalition and negotiations.
I think this is the price we're paying for this very long period of very serious crisis.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: What does it mean for Brexit, she was obviously and remains a very key payer in the Brexit negotiation and as you
see today, Prime Minister May is trying to get her unruly cabinet to try to agree to a romper up EU diverse bill.
TIMMERMANS: Well I can only speak fort he EU 27 and we've been united from day one on Bretix. We're ready for the negotiations, we have all of our
ducks in a row, we know exactly what we want out of it and this has not been changed in any way but the elections in Germany, nor by the results of
I think the EU 27 have shown clear unity on this issue and it's now up to Britian to tell us where they want to go.
AMANPOUR: Looking at Britain, you can hear members of her Brexit people saying, well if we're going to ramp up our divorce bill, we're going to
want something absolutely solid back from them like a date or good will on immediately starting trade negotiations.
TIMMERMANS: Yes, I hear them saying that. But once again, as far as the EU 27 is concerned, a position is clear, the three issues that we need to
tackle in the short run. If we tackle these three issues, that is what Britian still owns the European Union in terms of budget, that is the issue
of island and that's the issue of the right to our citizens.
If we deal with that satisfactory, we can move to the next phase and that's been crystal clear from day one.
AMANPOUR: I was to turn to what you personally are doing into terms of your presiding over a conference of the EU commission on women's rights on
turbulent times. Obviously, it was speaking at one of the moment where one of the most powerful in politics - not just n Europe is facing a very
What is it you're trying to achieve at this conference and what does (INAUIDBLE)'s trouble say to people about this issue.
TIMMERMANS: All we're asking is not a form of charity, what we're asking is equal treatment of women, and there is no equal treatment of women. Not
anywhere, not in Europe, not in our member states in terms of pay, there's still a pay gab, there's a pensions gap, there are not enough women
represented on boards of our companies
There are not enough women represented in politics, not enough women represented (INAUDIBLE). So we've got quite a lot of things to do here
because there's also a backlash. Popular slushiest always want to put women back in there place as if we're still in the 1950s.
We have to make sure that was achieved over the last decades is not only maintained in the terms of the rights of women but that we also finish this
fight for the equality of women. O that I can say to my daughters, like I can say to my sons, you have equal rights.
AMANPOUR: As you know, the European Parliament, there are many, many reports of sexual misconduct as one alleged victim described a culture of
silent in which problems are deliberately kept out of the hands of local authorities. Is she right? And what can you and others who care about
this do about it?
TIMMERMANS: What I actually see is the European Parliaments actually doing something to clean up their own house to make sure that this doesn't happen
in the future and we in the European commission with review our rules in the common year, talk to the trade unions and make sure that every single
that works in organization feels safe and feels protected and knows that she can go somewhere if she's not treated well in the organization.
AMANPOUR: So here you are, , gifting for women's' rights. Do you believe therefore actually we cannot achieve our full right and security without
the held of men?
TIMMERMANS: Well if you look back at history, men that understood that it was in there interest to have rights to women have always helped. Do you
think there would have been a voting rights for women without men understanding finally that they should share these rights with women. Do
you think we would not have achieved more in terms of equal pay if not men who were mostly in charge at the time had not agreed to that legislation.
We always have progress on women's rights when there is an alliance, whether there is clear understanding between women and man of good will
that we need to fix things. That we need to take away injustices that still persist in our societies.
AMANPOUR: Well good luck because of course, we all are with you on that one. Frans Timmermans, thank you very much indeed for joining me.
TIMMERMANS: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: And when we come back, we're live in Zimbabwe where young people are standing up to the country's 93 year old tyrant. That's next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program, the clock struck 12 in Harare today, and Comrade Bob refused to go, having stunned his nation and the
world by defying the deadline for his resignation following a military takeover last week. Robert Mugabe who started out as Zimbabwe's savior and
ended up an international (prier) will now be impeached by his own party ZANU - PF.
Many younger Zimbabweans have never known life under a different leader. All they've known is an isolated nation and a collapsed economy. Farai
Sevenzo listens to what they have to say at this trivial moment in their countries history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In just one week Harare has gone from a city of whispers to a city of loud protests. These University of Zimbabwe students
can hardly believe they are allowed to protest. Their message is a simple one Robert Mugabe's time is up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just seeking to tell him that he is value, but all he could say was good night, I said (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you all offended?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We might be replacing a snake with another snake that might be new, but it will take seven years of (inaudible). So what we are
saying is we need a new plan as our leader.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a student revolution, personalized the revolution and he tried by all means to eliminate those who could of (inaudible)
better. Those who could of silenced this or (inaudible) to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait for the election, then (start) your voice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whichever way you look at it the Army they say is a lesser evil. For nearly four decades they say they've dealt with
oppression and their failing economy for they are only too happy to escape.
FARAI SEVENZO, JOURNALIST: These students and so many other Zimbabweans are saying the kind of freedom they're having now is better than before the
Army took over. And we're hearing it from everybody despite the fact that the man in camouflage are still on Harare's streets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The (inaudible) the military meant, and now God for help. Dozens of people gathered in a park outside Parliament to reflect
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do not want him, we do not want the slightest bit of Robert Mugabe in our country. Him and his wife and children, we don't
want anything to do with him ever again. He has made our lives miserable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Side by side, arm in arm they sing "God bless Zimbabwe", an apt prayer for a nation in need of blessings and closure from
the Mugabe era.
AMANPOUR: After 37 years of this era you can understand those young people's frustration. And we're just hearing that Mugabe will meet
Zimbabwe's ousted by spender the one he fired, Emmerson Mnangagwa for direct talks. That is according to the Defense Forces Chief.
So Farai joins me now live from the cabin and we'll try to dig into this. Farai, I don't know whether you've heard this news, maybe not, but what
would be the outcome do you think of Mugabe meeting with Vice President who he actually fired?
SEVENZO: Christiane I have heard that news. Our team, CNN's team, was at the army headquarters when the army made that announcement. Now the
significance of this is that the army has precipitated, they started this process of this apparent coup because Mr. Emmerson Mnangagwa had been fired
by Mr. and Mrs. Mugabe.
Let's been honest, Grace had a lot to do with it. And of course, what will come out of it is that the army are hoping to, what they're calling
Operation Restore Legacy. Whether that legacy refers to Mr. Mugabe or ZANU-PF, but they feel that two parties for so long close our lives in all
their good deeds and bad deeds shouldn't we then talk.
Now where does that put us? It puts us a situation where the impeachment stories and the idea of going to parliament that will now take a back seat,
because now it becomes about internal ZANU-PF politics and how this will be resolved.
Whether it will be resolved now or at the Congress, the county is waiting to find out. But certainly, as you heard from those young people in that
piece, not very many people in Harare still want him around.
AMANPOUR: So that was completely clear and as I said, you could really understand it given the past four or so decades. But I guess the question
everybody wants to know is, is it Mugabe now dictating the pace of his own future? What happened to that so-called house arrest? The military had
told him to do something, his party had told him to do something and the message was, go, leave, do it now.
So that's one question. The other question is, do you feel that there are forces that may be, I don't know, be tempted to take this into a much
darker place? Could there be fighting? Could there be a power struggle?
SEVENZO: Absolutely not. That second question, I don't think the country is heading that way, but let's remember ZANU-PF is a party that had kept
the army close to it all this time. And the fired man, Emmerson Mnangagwa, he is at the center of all political life.
He was the head of the joint operation command, in charge and talking to the intelligence, the army, the police and it was the security forces that
he was leader of. And Mr. Mugabe made a complete miscalculation about his army's loyalty when he fired him.
Now, with your first question, the idea that this country is going to somewhat saved by Mr. Mugabe, by him controlling the event is absolutely
out of the question. Mr. Mugabe long lost control of his own party to his wife and that is why, even now, that the opposition, the MDC and ZANU-PF
and now the army and the people are all seem to be singing and reading from the same page.
So it is a matter of time, and of course everyone is urgent, they had to go through June(ph) process in terms of the Constitution of ZANU-PF and the
Constitution of the country, but at the moment with this new announcement, Emmerson Mnangagwa is back for talks with Mugabe. Events have to be put on
hold and all predictions are off until these two talk.
AMANPOUR: Got it. It's one surprise after the other. Farai Sevenzo, thank you so much for joining us from Harare tonight.
And in times of such chaos, surely we must yearn for a little stability. Next, wee image the couples who have walked the walk for 70 years. Queen
Elizabeth and Prince Philip celebrate their platinum anniversary. That's next.
AMANPOUR: The bells of Westminster Abbey ring us out tonight. They were actually ringing for hours earlier today to celebrate 70 years of a royal
British union. Imagine Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, her consort are the first British royals to mark this milestone. Now the celebrations
will be low key compared to their epic 1947 wedding, Brittan is marking the platinum wedding anniversary with new stamps, a new portrait. There won't
be a public event, but there will be a private party for the family at Windsor Castle for the 91-year-old queen and her 96-year-old husband. So
what is the secret of their success? Just before the birth of their great grandson, Prince George in 2013, I spoke the queen's bridesmaid and
confident, the late Margaret Rhodes. She told me the queen first fell in love with Philip as a 13-year-old girl.
RHODES: I think that in a way 13-year-olds do, she fell in love with a very, very, very handsome young man and yes indeed that's a great thing.
She's remained -- I mean they were -- are rocks to each other, which is wonderfully and I don't think that somebody like her could probably have
competed with the amount of work she has to do. And she had that wonderful, steadfast knowledge that there's somebody behind you, ready to
AMANPOUR: Now celebrating her many records, whether in years married or on the throne, it seems our world never tires of Queen Elizabeth II. The
Crown, on Netflix is about to begin its second ten-part series on her life. That's it for our program tonight and remember you can always listen to our
podcast, see us on-line at Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and good bye from London.