The German leader’s no vote is a sign she has to appease her core conservative base – but the snap election might be more deliberate than she let on

Sixteen years after the Netherlands became the first country in the world to pass legislation in favour of gay marriage, Germany has finally followed suit.

The answer to why it took so long is that much of Germany remains conservative at heart. While Angela Merkel has helped create the impression of her country as a liberal democracy, aided by issues such as her refugee policy and the decision to dismantle the country’s nuclear power stations, in reality it is steeped in conservative values.

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