German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who recently announced that she will run for a fourth term in next year’s election, has called for a burqa ban wherever possible and says last year’s refugee crisis cannot be repeated.
“In interpersonal communication, which plays a fundamental role here, we show our face. And that’s why a full veil is inappropriate in our country and should be banned wherever legally possible,” Merkel said, sparking enthusiastic applause as she addressed the annual conference of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.
The surprise announcement follows pressure from key CDU members who seek to toughen the party’s stance on immigration and want to introduce new measures to combat terrorism. This includes a proposal to ban women from wearing full face veils in schools, universities and while driving.
Merkel, who last year famously declared “Wir schaffen das! (We can manage it!)” in regards to the refugee crisis, has faced criticism over her handling of immigration and the threats of terrorism, particularly after several immigrants carried out acts of terrorism this year.
The chancellor said there cannot be a repeat of the situation last year, when at least 442,000 people applied for asylum in Germany. “A situation like the summer of 2015 cannot, should not and must not be allowed to repeat itself,” she explained.
Merkel added that not every refugee who comes to Germany will be able to stay.
Last month, Merkel announced that she would seek re-election to a fourth term as chancellor. She is running unopposed within her party, which has a comfortable lead in polls for next year’s election, though right-wing parties are on the rise.
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