Germany Set To Vote On Angela Merkel's Future

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Vijeta Uniyal, a journalist and news analyst, is based in Germany. "He is called Martin Schulz". I'm of several minds. And the other thing is that she's never quite overcome the public backlash about her decision in 2015 to open German borders to almost a million asylum seekers and other migrants. "These parties supported allowing double citizenship and the Turkish accession to the European Union, but now the situation has changed, so Turks in Germany need to see who best represents their interests". And it could have an effect on how Germany is governed over the next four years. "Why would people vote for the copy if they can vote for the original [the AfD]?" Even Mrs Merkel's trademark hand gesture - fingers held together to form a diamond shape while she speaks - has been replicated on the banners held up by the cheering audience.

[Me again] Well, it's proportional representation, so everybody is in the running. Their parties now govern together in a coalition of traditional rivals. "It would hurt them (Russia)", said Sergey Lagodinsky, a lawyer and researcher with a Green Party-connected think tank in Berlin.

The extreme-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) is often referred to as a neo-Nazi organization and lawmakers have unsuccessfully sought to get the party banned - twice. In many ways, it has been the exact opposite, even though the far-right is expected to make significant gains on Sunday. If anything, that's pleasingly low. But! Friday's polls put Ms Merkel 24 per cent ahead of Mr Schulz in terms of personal popularity. Merkel told everyone here to remember, and people did. Each voter can give his vote to the party of his choice or decide not to vote at all. The repercussions are still playing out, but it was and is a genuine big deal. This would be the worst election outcome in the party's history. All of the major parties have promised tax cuts ranging from 10 billion euros (SPD) to 30 billion (FDP). The centrist German parties have little to differentiate between them.

Yes, the Social Democrats (SPD - Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands) correlate most closely with the Democrats.

The leader of the liberal Free Democratic Party, Christian Lindner, whose moody black-and-white campaign posters have been compared to Calvin Klein advertisements (or mocked as promotions for dating websites), has revealed how he fought teenage flab.

The hard part may be forming a new government. Nearly a year later, however, the country's own election is attracting much less interest.

Merkel has been German chancellor since 2005 and her re-election is seen bring continuity and stability, although there is uncertainty about the composition of a likely coalition and some concern about the strength of the far-right. Their older cousins went to university and started working in the 1990s, a holiday from history as the economy became global, and powerful countries mostly got along.

The AfD could poll from 15 to 20 percent of the Russian-speaking vote, political scientist Achim Goerres tells Politico. The rapid aging of German society has implications for the country's politics. That makes the task of forming a majority for Merkel trickier. The SPD is serious about this, too. The prospect of power may persuade them to compromise.

The process is especially complex this time as the number of parliamentary groups could rise to six from four. Nobody will work with them because they are Nazi assholes taking Russian money, but their presence will make coalition building more hard, in that there will be fewer mainstream seats available to reach an absolute majority. There are also fewer veto points than in the USA system (although there are more than in, say, the UK). So count me among the many, many people who have underestimated her. "I don't expect a third world war but maybe something like that, with North Korea, Turkey, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, Trump", he said.

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