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  Merkel perfects the art of the political apology
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Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Apr 07, 2021 09:22am
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AuthorMatthew Karnitschnig
News DateFriday, March 26, 2021 02:05:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionBERLIN — Who knew that Angela Merkel and Muhammad Ali were soulmates?

Backed into a COVID-19 corner by Berlin’s political pugilists this week, the visibly exhausted German leader caught her opponents off-guard with a sudden flash of unexpected genius, her own version of Ali’s legendary rope-a-dope: the “Merkel Culpa.”

“The mistake is my mistake alone,” Merkel told the Bundestag on Wednesday. “I ask both the public and you, dear colleagues, for forgiveness.”

Merkel said she was apologizing for a decision (since reversed) that she took earlier in the week to shut the country down for five days over Easter in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Not that it really mattered much. The second Merkel stood up and asked for forgiveness, the reason for her apology was almost beside the point. For the next 24 hours, the news cycle was dominated by one issue — Merkel’s jaw-dropper of an apology. For good measure, Merkel granted a rare one-on-one interview to German public television to apologize again.

For the most part the reaction, from Paris to Madrid to Berlin, was one of heartfelt admiration and gratitude, even among her political opponents.
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