4 storylines to watch for in Germany's upcoming election

Alexander Gauland

Alexander Gauland

If the polls are right, a clear majority of German voters will choose Angela Merkel as their leader for the next four years.

Rock music blaring, supporters cheering, Angela Merkel sweeps on to the makeshift stage.

Polls now show that Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party - with its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) - will be the largest party after the Bundestag election on 24 September, but they will fall short of a majority.

He said that ever since Macron was elected in May, the French leader had been "very active", both on the domestic front, with an ongoing reform of France's labour market, and on the European Union scene, with new ideas on Europe's future.

The AfD is polling at between 11 and 14 per cent, deeply unsettling the mainstream parties that have governed Germany since the war, as a strong showing could eat away at Dr Merkel's lead.

The AfD's possible rise and other factors could make it more hard for Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) to build an effective coalition quickly. SPD, a member of her coalition has 24 percent.

When the bearded 61-year-old announced in January he was giving up his role as European Parliament chief to become the Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader and its candidate for chancellor, he was welcomed home with open arms. After an intial surge in the opinion polls, his star fell courtesy of a series of state election defeats.

To share in the division of seats, a party must win at least 5 percent of the party vote or have at least three directly elected lawmakers. And one is the Left Party, which is the successor of sorts to the East German Communists. The Social Democrats did not win the post of prime minister in the recent elections held in Norway, and neither are they predicted to turn the table tomorrow.

The SPD's relationship with the CDU has been both its success and its downfall. Meanwhile the Greens and the Left have featured little in this election, and the unpopularity of the Europhile SDP stands in stark contrast with the rise of AfD - as well as the reinvigoration of the pro-business Free Democrats Party (FDP), under the charismatic leadership of Christian Lindner.

It's campaigning for a rise in the national minimum wage and an end to welfare cuts as well as the rejection of military missions overseas and the dissolution of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

And those who focus in terms of educational policy exclusively on which party is committed to Islamic religious instruction fail to recognise that the real crux of the matter lies elsewhere: namely, the need for policies that support equal opportunities for all children and young people.

The Social Democratic Party (SDP), Merkel's current coalition partner, have ruled out another coalition unless certain conditions are met. It promotes a free economy and individual liberty. But the SPD risks sliding into irrelevance with a third straight term of playing junior partner to Merkel, and may prefer to rebuild in opposition.

As Merkel will set in her fourth and maybe last mandate, she will certainly want to leave a long term mark on the EU. It is inherent to Germany's political system, which essentially forces parties to think about negotiating possible coalitions with others, even before campaigning has even started.

But the party has since been hijacked from the founder, who tried to resuscitate his agenda by starting another political formation - but no one really seems to care.

The Greens pushed through a nuclear power phase-out and enacted laws easing immigration and same-sex civil partnerships. Most Germans consider issues like education, labor policies and social justice when casting ballots rather than slogans, he says.

And then there is the great unkown.

Election poster of (Alternative for Germany, AfD) party in the district of Lichtenberg in Berlin, Germany on September 15, 2017. And with a catchy new campaign and a candidate to match, the FDP is not only expected to make the "five per cent hurdle" - a key feature of German politics which allows candidates of a party to go to Parliament only if they receive five per cent of the votes - but may even find itself in a coalition with Merkel's CDU.

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