Angela Merkel in fight to win new term as Germany goes to the polls
Saturday 21 September 2013
Angela Merkel is in a fight to clinch a new term for her ruling coalition despite enjoying overwhelming popularity and leading an economy that is the envy of Europe.
Polls ahead of tomorrow's national election show her centre-right alliance on a knife-edge as her junior partner's support slumps.
Ms Merkel and her conservative Christian Democratic Union appear likely to fend off a challenge from centre-left rival Peer Steinbrueck and emerge as the biggest party in the lower house of parliament, whose members choose the chancellor - making her the strong favorite to win a third term.
But no single party has won an absolute majority in Germany in more than 50 years. And surveys show Ms Merkel's coalition partner, the pro-business Free Democratic Party, has fallen from the nearly 15% support it won in 2009 to about the 5% level needed to keep any seats in parliament.
If Ms Merkel's alliance falls short of a parliamentary majority, the likeliest outcome is a switch to a Merkel-led "grand coalition" of her conservatives with Mr Steinbrueck's Social Democratic Party, the same combination of traditional rivals that ran Germany from 2005 to 2009 in Ms Merkel's first term.
That is unlikely to produce a radical change in government policies. However, it could signal a subtle shift in emphasising economic growth over the austerity that Germany has insisted on in exchange for bailing out economically weak European countries such as Greece.
Final results are due within hours of polls closing. But with margins so close, the country could still face weeks of protracted horse-trading before a clear picture emerges about the make-up and policies of Germany's next government.
Ms Merkel's center-right coalition might win re-election but "it will be very tight," said Oskar Niedermayer, a political science professor at Berlin's Free University.
Much may depend on the turnout among the nearly 62 million voters - about 70% in the 2009 ballot. In the days before the voting, prominent figures from all major parties have urged supporters to vote, with the projected outcome too close to take any chances.
- 1 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 2 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 3 Is Ebola coming to Britain? UK health officials issue warning to doctors as outbreak fears grow
- 4 Richard Dawkins says 'date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse' on Twitter
- 5 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
- < Previous
- Next >
Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...
£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...
£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...