German liberals would expect finance ministry in Merkel coalition

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

But in all likelihood, the Chancellor will remain the same the day after, although she might be wearing a different pantsuit. It has been argued that the foundations of her success were laid by the center-left government before hers, and radically reformed the labor market by encouraging people to seek jobs.

Banner image: Once and future German Chancellor Angela Merkel is looking to continue to be "strong and stable".

In Germany, AFD (Alternative fϋr Deutschland) is expected to gain sufficient support nationally to take seats in the Reichstag for the first time, potentially establishing itself as the joint third largest party in Germany in terms of seats. The latest ARD-DeutschlandTrend poll gives the SPD 20 percent.

Founded as an anti-euro party, the AfD recorded a surge in support after it began capitalizing on unease in Germany over the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers since 2015. In a TV debate earlier this month, she appeared conciliatory, agreeing with much of what her opponent said. There are seven major parties ranging across the political spectrum. This is a depressing reflection of contemporary European politics, and even more tragic when it enters legitimate German politics.If the opinion polls are to be believed, Merkel's 15 percent lead would enable her not only to retain office, but also to select carefully her coalition partners. And perhaps Merkel's TV manner was intended as an advert for this: showing she can work with the SPD, even if the parties don't agree. Crossing to the left you meet the Social Democratic Party (SDP) led by former European Union politician Martin Schultz. He won 100 per cent of the votes cast in the party's leadership election, and said his overwhelming victory was a "prelude to conquest of the chancellery". According to polls, a radical right-wing party called Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), which obviously means "Alternative for Germany", will not only be part of the Bundestag in Berlin, but maybe even lead the opposition.

But Schultz's shine wore off this summer.

Populism and nationalist rhetoric has started to dominate the campaign ahead of elections in Germany.

. Schulz and the SPD have since struggled to regain momentum. She's also a China expert, former Goldman Sachs employee, and self-described "ur-liberal" who says she's out to preserve German democracy. "If Mrs. Merkel wants to join my cabinet as vice chancellor, she's more than welcome".

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Schulz's final problem: like all SPD challengers before him, he has tried and failed to get a rise out of Merkel. "Since 2005, the CDU has been responsible for domestic security, and their spending cutbacks have had the result you can imagine, but the SPD doesn't go after that". Both parties back more integration and reformation of the European Union, and both would increase spending on defence, although Merkel would spend more.

Much has changed since the federal elections were last held in 2013. There are 299 electoral districts, so there are 299 seats in the Bundestag, the German Parliament, allocated to a straight first-past-the-post victor from the first vote.

Germany has a mixed-member proportional voting system under which voters cast two ballots: one directly for a candidate in his or her constituency and the second for a party.

"We have to get out of a dead-end situation", Lindner told the Funke Media Group on August 5. The Social Democrats and other left-wing parties argue for openhandedness.

Ironically, as Germans prepare to vote on September 24, a candidate from Merkel's CDU ruling party has prominently plastered electoral posters everywhere quoting former U.S. Barack president Obama: "If I could vote, I'd vote for Merkel".

However, there is one extra complication: parties must win at least five per cent of the national vote, of three constituencies, to enter the Bundestag. The Free Democrats, the party of entrepreneurs, keep them sharp.

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