Germany's big parties suffer small drop in support

Wednesday, 20 Sep, 2017

All eyes are on Germany, as voters prepare to elect a new chancellor and hundreds of MPs amidst a backdrop of political surprises.

There was a time when the contest looked like it could be interesting. He is greeted with cheers, but it's a poor echo of the euphoria in January when the European Parliament president was parachuted in as new SPD leader.

Which parties are running in the German election? CDU and FDP would partner very easily, like they have in the past, but the addition of the Greens would pose a novelty that is somewhat peculiar given the substantial differences among all three parties in matters of policy preferences, as well as voter clienteles. There are no visible differences between Merkel and Schulz. Never mind that the lowest-paid 40% now earn less in real terms than they did 20 years ago, that the German vehicle industry is suffering reputational losses, or that Europe is starting to become economically less relevant in the face of the rise of China and India.

Is the rise of the AfD a positive development?

Both the FDP and Greens are in a ferocious battle for third place along with the far-left Linke party and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party - all four small parties hovering between 7 and 10 per cent in polls. At a time when many in Europe are divided over questions of immigration and economic integration on the continent, the status quo in Germany is nearly guaranteed to prevail.

Germans comprise the fourth-largest tourist group to visit Canada, and close to 2,000 Germans attend schools and universities in this country, with the numbers likely to increase. "I was just about to give him a ballot paper".

Lindner also supports reaching a Brexit deal with the United Kingdom, saying that his party wants "a strong and economically prosperous Britain".

Merkel and Germany have emerged as the leaders of what could still be called the Western world in terms of democracy and principles.

"I think he's a bit more of a fighter than Angela Merkel is presenting herself at the moment", Zimmerman says.

(CNN) - All over Berlin, Angela Merkel greets passers-by with a tender smile. And this was at an event for her opponent.

"Merkel said 12 years ago that there must be controlled immigration", but now "we have uncontrolled immigration, terror attacks", he said.

"The growing Islamization of Germany poses an urgent challenge for its public and state order; cultural identity and internal peace", Gauland said during the press conference held less than a week before the German parliamentary elections scheduled for September 24.

This means that only another grand coalition of Merkel's conservatives with the SPD or a three-way alliance of the conservatives, FDP and Greens would have a stable majority. Not to mention the time it would take to draw up a coalition agreement.

The FDP is a natural coalition partner for Merkel's conservatives.

What are the possible coalitions outcomes from the German election?

The two could continue to share power in a "grand coalition", but we're hoping the liberal Free Democrats will win enough seats to help form a center-right government instead. Last year, the AfD played a prominent role in disseminating the spurious story of a Russian German girl who claimed to have been raped by Middle Eastern migrants (the so-called Lisa Case). "It is anyone's guess how long that will work once she leaves office and the struggle for her succession begins".

"The political calm that has so widely been celebrated both within and outside Germany is rather more vulnerable than it seems".

In view of increasing polarization within some European societies, the results of the German election could have significant implications not just for member nations of the European Union, but also for other countries, including Canada, and particularly the USA under Trump, whose erratic and divisive polices are increasingly undermining national unity. "While the crisis is not yet imminent, discontent with the status quo goes much deeper than most observers have acknowledged".