Merkel booed on final day of campaign rallies in Munich

Merkel booed on final day of campaign rallies in Munich

If pollsters are correct, Angela Merkel will secure her place at the helm of German politics for what will be a total of 16 years following Sunday's election results. Founded in 1863, it is the oldest political party in Germany. The AfD rose 2 points to 11 percent, with the pro-market Free Democrats and the anti-capitalist Left party both at 9.5 percent.

Even the mainstream media point to a degree of Merkel fatigue, arguing that the soporific campaign and a sense of complacency could ultimately drive many German voters into the arms of extremists. But party leader Martin Schulz has run a poor campaign and many view his current coalition as the reason for the SDP's lack of electoral progress.

Schulz this week took some succour from Merkel's slipping poll numbers, hoping for a "last-minute turnaround" linked to "growing unease" in the population. This is posing a threat to our democracy.

The SDP at present is the CDU's junior coalition partner in a "grand coalition".

The text contained spelling errors, raising doubt whether it was sent by Islamists or far-right activists trying to stoke fear, said one of the recipients, Greens party lawmaker Hans-Christian Stroebele.

"In other words, Europe can expect more of the same from Germany", Hans Kundnani of the German Marshall Fund wrote this week in an editorial for Spanish daily, El Pais. As the leader of the center-right Christian Democrats, Merkel is already one of the longest-serving leaders in modern-day Germany. "This has been a good strategy for Merkel because she is nearly singing the country asleep", he said.

The chancellor's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) along with their Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU), are striding towards victory, polling at around 36 percent - a significant stretch ahead of their coalition partners and main rivals, the Social Democrats (SPD), who are now on less than 23 percent.

In the coalition government, the SPD pushed its social policies onto the agenda with the Government passing laws on a minimum wage and closing Germany's gender pay gap - but it was Ms Merkel who took the credit. The two are traditional rivals but have governed together in a "grand coalition" of the biggest parties for the past four years. But only if it can implement good things. "Now it's really hard to motivate voters to support the SPD".




A GMS poll on Thursday said 34 per cent were not planning to vote or were undecided, higher than the 29 per cent who did not cast ballots in the last election in 2013.

Younger SPD voters are unimpressed with their party's performance since entering the coalition.

"That antagonises AfD supporters, who in the CDU's confidence of victory see further evidence of the arrogance of power in the late Merkel years".

"If the SPD did enter another a coalition with Merkel this year, it would cost us a lot of support which could be really damaging for the next election in 2021", he said. Friday's polls put Ms Merkel 24 per cent ahead of Mr Schulz in terms of personal popularity.

But even with Mr Schulz's European Union experience, the party will have to overshadow Ms Merkel's own legacy in Europe. It was retweeted by a Russian "bot-for-hire" 169 times in recent days, fake news tracking site Digital Forensic Research Labs said.

In 2015, her decision to let hundreds of thousands of refugees into the country astonished many on the left, although Merkel may not have had much of a choice. Though in a usual show of stoicism, Merkel did not lose her cool.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made her final pitch to voters saying she'll keep Europe's dominant country in the political middle of the road, shouting over noisy far-right protesters as she wound up her re-election campaign before Sunday's national vote.

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