DER SPIEGEL, DIE WELT (Germany), LE MONDE (France)

Worldcrunch

BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a cold, power-hungry would-be dictator overseeing the insidious collapse of democracy, according to a new book causing a political stir in Germany.

Gertrud Höhler's book, Die Patin (which means "the Godmother" in English and retains all of its mafia connotations) paints a grim portrait of the Chancellor, who is accused of abandoning all political morals, poaching ideas from other parties, hurriedly pushing through legislation and using the euro zone crisis as a political scapegoat.

These are all part of a secret plan to impose an authoritarian regime, dubbed "System M," writes Höhler, one of Germany's leading public intellectuals and former advisor to Helmut Kohl.

Der Spiegel reports that Höhler, 71, insists there is no personal feud between the two women. Rather, the 295-page thesis is presented as a deeper socio-cultural understanding of post-reunification Germany: Merkel's upbringing in the single-party state of East Germany is the root of her cold pragmatism, and therefore she is unlike her Wessi counterparts.

According to Höhler, Merkel quickly learned to trust no one and never reveal her cards while growing up in the GDR.

Die Welt sees the book as a well-timed blow to Merkel's grip on power, with elections in Germany just one year away, as Höhler calls for the lower ranks of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU, Angela Merkel's party) to challenge the authority of "the she-wolf."

But Merkel may not have too much to worry about, and can take heart in being named the world's most powerful woman by Forbes last week.

"History has often showed us the strength of the forces that are unleashed by the yearning for freedom." - Angela Merkel

— Forbes (@Forbes) August 22, 2012

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