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PM Lee invites Merkel to Singapore as Tharman calls German election results a “major setback”

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Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong congratulated German Chancellor Angela Merkel for being voted into a fourth term in office, during the 2017 Federal Elections which concluded on Sunday. Calling Merkel’s victory a “vote of confidence in (her) strong leadership,” the Singapore head of government invited her to make an Official Visit to the Southeast Asian city-state.

The Ministry of Foreign affairs published the PM’s letter to Merkel online. In it, PM Lee said that Singapore looks forward to “stepping up” its collaboration with Germany and that there is “much more” the two countries can do together, especially in areas like renewable energy, connectivity, cybersecurity and start-ups.

We re-publish his letter in full here:

Dear Chancellor Merkel
My congratulations on your party’s success at the 2017 Federal Elections! The German electorate’s endorsement is a vote of confidence in your strong leadership.
On behalf of the Government of Singapore, I wish you every success as you embark on a new term as Federal Chancellor, and in particular the delicate and critical task of forming a new government. Singapore looks forward to stepping up collaboration with Germany in new frontiers such as connectivity, mobility, cybersecurity, start-ups and renewable energy to further enhance our excellent bilateral ties. There is still much more that we can do together.
May I also take this opportunity to reiterate my invitation to you to make an Official Visit to Singapore. I look forward to seeing you again soon.
Yours sincerely
LEE HSIEN LOONG

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam called the results of the Federal Elections 2017 a “major setback” for Merkel, Germany and “the politics of moderation,” in a Facebook post today.

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Highlighting the fact that Merkel will have a less stable coalition to govern this term since the Alternative for Germany (AfD) won 13 per cent of the vote – becoming the first far-right party to enter parliament in more than 50 years – the DPM said that Merkel’s party and the Social Democrats are “weaker than they have been in six decades” while anti-immigration AfD has risen to become the third-strongest party, riding on frustrations over the sudden influx of refugees:

“Angela Merkel will lead Germany, but the election results just out were a major setback – for her, for Germany, and for the politics of moderation. 
“The two anchor parties in German politics – Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats — are both weaker than they have been in six decades. The extreme right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is now the third-strongest party, riding on the unhappiness over the sudden influx of refugees.
“It is the first time since the early days of postwar Germany that a far-right party will be in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament – a worrying shift, and a challenge to the moderation and consensus-driven culture of Germany’s political landscape.
“Quick assessment by German newspaper Der Spiegel :“That will have consequences in the form of clashes, provocations and scandalous rhetoric. From the beginning, the AfD will do all it can to ensure that it returns to parliament four years from now — and for that to happen, German society must remain divided. That will be the focus of the AfD caucus in the Bundestag.””

Angela Merkel will lead Germany, but the election results just out were a major setback – for her, for Germany, and for…

Posted by Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Sunday, 24 September 2017

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