Once A Contender, Angela Merkel's Main Rival Stumbles As Election Approaches

Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz has insisted he can unseat Chancellor Angela Merkel

Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz has insisted he can unseat Chancellor Angela Merkel

Merkel could jettison her grand coalition with the Social Democrats and instead form a government with the help of two smaller parties, the libertarian Free Democrats and the Greens - once an unlikely coalition partner for German conservatives, but now a real possibility should the Greens break the 5-percent threshold needed to win seats in parliament. "If re-elected, she'll continue this course of strengthening those relations". The fact that the party has gotten this far in the polls, and has won seats in regional elections, shows the AfD's degree of resonance among voters.

The prospect of a party that has been compared with the Nazis entering the heart of German democracy is unnerving other parties.

Gauland and the other top AfD candidate, Alice Weidel, have stirred controversy before Sunday's general election.

The Christian Democrats want to meet NATO's 2-percent defense spending target. There are seven major parties ranging across the political spectrum.

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 US under Trump, whose erratic and divisive polices are increasingly undermining national unity. By supporting local militias to keep migrants from embarking on the journey across the sea, they are fuelling Libyan instability while abandoning hundreds of thousands of people suffering in the militias' makeshift detention camps. Next week's election is attracting much global attention because Germany's role in ensuring the survival of the European Union is vital, while some also are looking at its rise to dominance with some trepidation, because of the country's past.Merkel has successfully steered Germany's economy out of the 2008 crisis, while many other Eurozone countries have struggled.

This option is likely the most appealing to Chancellor Merkel, as it does not require also accommodating the policy concerns of the Green Party while simultaneously keeping the Social Democrats out of the governing coalition.

"I think that the FDP will definitely make it into the Bundestag", said 18-year-old Julius Kalaitzi-Hack from Hessen, one of the FDP's new recruits. Brexit looms large, and the politics of a number of eastern members are increasingly hard to reconcile with the purported notion of European democratic values. First, the government would likely enjoy a much narrower majority in the Bundestag than would a Grand Coalition formed by the two bigs, CDU/CSU and SPD. This time in the direction of more liberal and market-based policy solutions.

"So German companies are used to accepting political decisions".

During last week's TV election debate, both candidates declared their intention to formally cancel all European Union accession talks with Ankara.

Its supporters have loudly disrupted Merkel's rallies, where they loudly jeer, boo and whistle in a bid to drown her out. There must be a vision and an agenda for which the German Chancellor stands. As a result, a coalition between the CDU and the FDP would be the desirable outcome for the British government.

Human Rights Watch recently documented systematic interference in preparation of the 2018 presidential campaign of leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny; in July we published findings on new restrictions on freedom of speech online and reported on mass arbitrary arrests and police abuse against peaceful anti-corruption protesters; earlier in the year, authorities in Chechnya launched a viscous purge against people seen as gay.

There is precious little difference between the main centre-right and centre-left parties and their possible coalition partners concerning policies on China. But will Germany hold a pivotal "strong and stable" influence in Europe?

The views expressed in this Commentary are the author's, and do not reflect those of RUSI or any other institution.

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