scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Tuesday, October 19, 2021

German parties rally supporters ahead of Sunday election

Merkel’s center-right Union bloc, with Armin Laschet as its candidate for chancellorship, has made small gains in the polls in recent weeks. But it remains narrowly behind the center-left Social Democrats, headed by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.

By: AP | Berlin |
Updated: September 24, 2021 4:59:37 pm
People walk past election posters of the three chancellor candidates, from right, Armin Laschet, Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Annalena Baerbock, German Green party (Die Gruenen) and Olaf Scholz, Social Democratic Party (SPD), at a street in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021 three days before the General election on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. (AP Photo)

Germany’s political parties prepared to rally their supporters and win over undecided voters Friday, two days before a national election that will determine who succeeds Chancellor Angela Merkel after 16 years in power.

Merkel’s center-right Union bloc, with Armin Laschet as its candidate for chancellorship, has made small gains in the polls in recent weeks. But it remains narrowly behind the center-left Social Democrats, headed by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.

[oovvuu-embed id=”6c70ba10-8d50-48af-8ff5-b08a196170f5″ frameUrl=”https://playback.oovvuu.media/frame/6c70ba10-8d50-48af-8ff5-b08a196170f5″ playerScriptUrl=”https://playback.oovvuu.media/player/v1.js”%5D

The Greens, who are putting forward their own candidate for chancellor for the first time, are trailing in third place, but could play kingmakers when it comes to forming a government.

Experts say one reason why this year’s German election is tighter and less predictable than usual is that the candidates are relative unknowns to most voters.

“It’s certainly not the most boring election,” said Hendrik Traeger, a political scientist at the University of Leipzig. “There were those in which Angela Merkel stood as the incumbent and it was simply a question of who she would govern with.”

An election poster of chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz, German Social Democrats (SPD), is pictured in a street in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021 three days before the General election on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. Slogan reads: “Who wants Scholz, votes SPD! Chancellor”. (AP Photo)

This time, Merkel’s party has struggled to energize its traditional base, which has so far failed to warm to Laschet, the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia state.

“The key question is whether these voters will overcome the Laschet hurdle and vote for the Union despite Laschet” said Peter Matuschek of the polling company Forsa. “Or will they abstain from the vote or even choose another party.”

The Union bloc will have its last big rally in Munich, while the Social Democrats are holding an event in the western city of Cologne. The Greens will stage their rally in nearby Duesseldorf.

Candidates for the upcoming German election attend a final televised debate in Berlin, Thursday Sept. 23, 2021, ahead of the election on Sunday. (Tobias Schwarz/Pool via AP)

Climate change has been cited as the most important issue by many in this election. Youth groups plan to stage a large protest outside the chancellery Friday to demand tougher action on climate change.

The economy and the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic have also played an important role during the campaign, while migration has is less of a concern to many voters than in 2017.

A woman casts her vote at a pooling station for postal voting for Sunday’s German national election in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. On Sunday Sept. 26 Germany will elect a new parliament. (AP Photo)

Foreign policy — largely absent from the campaign — became an issue during the final television debate Thursday, with the Greens calling for a tougher stance on China.

About 60.4 million Germans are eligible to vote for a new parliament on Sept. 26. The strongest party will seek to form a governing coalition.

The business-friendly Free Democrats are angling for a place in government this time, after pulling the plug on coalition talks at the last minute after the 2017 election. The far-right Alternative for Germany is expected to do well in the east, but other parties refuse to work with them. The Left party remains a possible governing partner for the Greens and Social Democrats, a prospect that has drawn alarm from conservatives.

Election officials say many more people will vote by mail this year, due to the pandemic, but this is not expected to significantly affect the turnout.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest World News, download Indian Express App.

  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by indianexpress.com.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement