Merkel likely to win, predict pre-poll surveys

Frederick Owens
September 24, 2017

Lawton is one of several thousand Britons who obtained German passports in the wake of the Brexit referendum, fearing the loss of his rights as an European Union citizen to live and work in Germany, and who are now eligible to vote for the first time in Sunday's election. "Even though I still feel very attached to Britain, when I look at the chaos there over the exit negotiations I despair and feel I hardly understand it anymore, compared to Germany". Expect some intensive horse-trading, in which the SPD and Greens would give Merkel more freedom than the more euro-skeptic FDP to pool powers at the Eurozone level.

Those who describe this election as tiresome, this campaign as lacklustre, miss the fact that something really significant is happening here. The sector is the source of some 8% of jobs in Germany, and it had been fawned over by every chancellor until the diesel scandal made clear how many Germans the industry was killing (about 10,000 a year, by some recent estimates).

This has facilitated stronger political differentiation on the fringes and, ultimately, political polarization, first leading to the formation of Die Linke, and now to the establishment of the AfD, which absorbed the more right-wing and nationalist elements of the CDU. He has urged his supporters to vote, saying "everything is still possible". The truth is that the Germans do not have much choice. Kronhagel says that he teaches German to newly arrived refugees and have noticed that a significant proportion of them do not want to assimilate into the German society and culture.

It has also held in check Russia's revisionist attempts to change post-World War II borders in Europe and the temptation of other European Union members to be profligate with German money.

"Altmaier's declaration is tantamount to admitting political bankruptcy and reveals his disturbed relationship to democracy", she said.

AFD has won support with the electorate after vowing to keep the pressure on Mrs Merkel to answer why she let in a million asylum seekers into the country. "I have huge concerns".

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Hans Kundnani, an expert at the German Marshall Fund think-tank, said it's a "foregone conclusion" that Merkel will be the next chancellor.

In 1994, he was elected to the European Parliament and stayed in Brussels for the next two decades, rising to become president of the EU's only elected body in 2012 and teaching himself five languages along the way.

The second vote goes to a party instead of a single candidate, and thus determines the percentage each party gets in the Bundestag, so it is more important than the first vote. "But it's not like I'm passionate about a particular party". But not Merkel who has proved herself to be the guardian mother of Germany.

Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told Reuters he feared the AfD's entry into parliament would change the public tone in Germany. How do you think Germany's relationship with the USA might continue if Merkel ends up serving yet another term? If Merkel does come out on top on Sunday, she will need to choose a coalition partner. "No one has talked about that enough". She's also seen by many as the world's most powerful voice for liberal values and has become something of a foil to Donald Trump's foreign policy pronouncements. "It requires a lot of thought as to how you place yours", she says.

The far-right Alternative for Germany party - had enjoyed a slight rise in the polls in 2016 but have since collapsed into in-fighting and unpopularity. Men, those without a college degree and those on the right of the political spectrum are also more likely to hold a favorable view of the AfD. These are issues that would have wobbled the most seasoned politicians. Allowing unparalleled numbers of Syrian refugees into Germany, and successfully standing against Trump in their trade negotiations has ingratiated her among the left. She seems easily influenced.

Why Merkel's victory matters: According to Vice News, Merkel's likely victory on Sunday indicates that she will be "the longest-serving political leader of a major democratic state". At the same time, they are the most able to engage their electoral base: on average, AfD tweets are retweeted seven times, whereas tweets by other parties' candidates only resonate (on average) 1,66 times (see Figure 2).

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