January 24 2018

German election: Polls, parties and probable coalition

January 24 2018, 01:50 | Van Peters

Another View: Merkel's likely re-election a hopeful sign both at home and abroad

Merkel’s moral authority sets direction for Europe

Ugly stuff. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has warned that if AfD enters Parliament, "we will have real Nazis in the German Reichstag for the first time since the end of World War Two". In 2013, the FDP had a disastrous election result, but polling this time suggests they have recovered to about 9%, which will ensure some 60 seats. And Weidel has reportedly employed an asylum seeker without paying tax, a claim she has denied.

Parties that fail to get more than 5 percent of the nationwide vote or win fewer than three seats by direct election are excluded from parliament. On Sunday, the right-wing extremists are sure to hit that mark.

In order to remove the CDU from government, the SPD would need the support of far-left Die Linke party and the environmentalist Greens, an alliance with no precedent at the national level. 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. The refugee crisis is not the dominating topic anymore as education and social justice have entered the stage of election issues. After a spell out of parliament over the past four years, the FDP is confident the political wilderness is over and that it might win 10 percent, if not more, of the vote.

"We will have to further cut back our joint economic cooperation with Turkey and scrutinize projects", Merkel told the Passauer Neuen Presse newspaper in an interview when asked how she wants to secure the release of Germans held in Turkey. She personally reached out to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to craft the pact, and stood out among European leaders by offering to take in thousands of refugees. This has long passed.

His working-class, upwardly mobile biography hits all the right buttons with SPD voters, as do his shopping list of election "non-negotiables": greater social spending on education and pensions, and vague promises of reform to "strengthen" the EU.

Merkel's centre-right CDU (with its more conservative Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union or CSU) makes up the largest party in the Bundestag, the German parliament. As a result, a coalition between the CDU and the FDP would be the desirable outcome for the British government. In times of economic well-being, a change in governance seems superfluous for many voters.

The politician, who is also one of the leading candidates from his party in the forthcoming vote, added that "orthodox Islam... is incompatible" with "the principles of the modern, secular, free and democratic law-bound state". It's a move sure to attract the votes of Germany's young adult population. In the 38-year-old, the Free Democrats have both a feistier and more charismatic leader.

The FDP are now sitting on eight to 10 per cent in opinion polls while Mrs Merkel's Christian Democrats are now enjoying 36 per cent of voters' support. Now polling around 8%, and having all-but ruled out a "three-way coalition' with the CDU/CSU and the FDP, it is expected to look to back a SPD-led left-wing bloc coalition or join them in opposition".

Martin Schulz has sharply attacked President Donald Trump repeatedly and challenged Merkel to do the same in the run-up to the election.

The good news is that Ireland already has an extensive trading relationship with Germany.

But Merkel's party can't rule alone.

The German chancellor recently imposed sanctions on Russian Federation respite pressure from businesses.

Germans don't directly vote for their leader like in the United States, but they can vote for a party.

Though there has been a significant drop in voter turnout in German parliamentary elections during the past two cycles, the rise of the AfD and other populist movements have drawn in many previous nonvoters across the country, making a higher voter turnout more likely this year, according to observers. Nevertheless, due to their rejection by all other Bundestag parties, they are expected to be blocked from any form of government.

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