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PARIS – After the Germans vote on Sunday and the formation of a new government, Chancellor Angela Merkel will step down after 16 years as a dominant figure in European politics. This is the moment that Emmanuel Macron, the French president, was waiting for.

The German Chancellor, although credited with handling multiple crises, has long been criticized for her lack of strategic vision. Mr Macron, whose more swaggering style has at times ruffled his European partners – and Washington – has put forward ideas for a more independent and integrated Europe, better able to act in its own defense and its own interests.

But as the Anglo-American “betrayal” underlined in the Australian submarine affair, Mr. Macron sometimes has ambitions beyond his reach. Despite the vacuum left by Merkel, a Macron era is unlikely to emerge.