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Germans head to the elections to prepare for the first government in the post-Merkel era

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, leader of the Christian Democratic Union and candidate for chancellor Armin Laschet

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, leader of the Christian Democratic Union and candidate for chancellor Armin Laschet
Germans head to the polls on Sunday to determine the political direction of Europe’s largest economy after nearly 16 years of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s reign.
The election is so important that whoever wants to win it will have to beat the centre-left Social Democrats after the party’s unexpectedly steady rise to the top in the opinion polls.
The SPD’s chancellor candidate, Olaf Scholz, 63, who has worked closely with Merkel as finance minister for the past four years, is the front-runner in the race to succeed her in the chancellorship.
His main challenger, Armin Laschet, 60, the CDU candidate lost a base during a lackluster election campaign but has narrowed the gap in opinion polls to a few percentage points in recent days.
Such small differences will be crucial as the parties position themselves in coalition deals after the results come in.
For the first time in its history, the Green Party has fielded a candidate for chancellor this year, but Annalina Birbock’s popularity has plummeted and she is expected to occupy third place by a wide margin.
Merkel has led the conservative bloc – made up of the Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian brother, the Christian Social Union – to victory in the last four elections, which has marked Germany’s political culture for a generation.
Merkel is the second longest-serving leader in the country after Helmut Kohl, who led Germany through reunification.
Most commentators see the formation of a three-party coalition as the most likely outcome of the elections. No party was able to secure more than a quarter of the vote share in opinion polls during the campaign.

Source: agencies





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