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Merkel Nuclear-Tax Blunder Returns to Haunt Her in Election Year

  • Court verdict hands Social Democrats election-year ammunition
  • 6.3 billion-euro budget hole ‘embarrassing,’ Kemfert says
Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel.

Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel.

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Angela Merkel was forced to revisit a low point of her chancellorship after Germany’s top court threw out a 2011 levy on nuclear operators, handing her opponents a stick to beat her with in an election year.

The ruling on Wednesday exposed a policy blunder by Merkel’s previous government, raised questions about the impact on Germany’s balanced budget and returned attention to the chancellor’s abrupt shift to renewables after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Critics say she exploited the accident to scrap her unpopular pursuit of atomic power.