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German voters go to the polls to elect the 19th Bundestag on Sunday, 24 September. The ballot contains two votes: one for a candidate and one for a party/ Photo: © Jochen Diel

German voters undecided hours before polls open

With opinion polls suggesting a third of the electorate is still undecided about who to vote for a day before the federal parliamentary election, candidates have been out and about doing some last-minute campaigning.

While Angela Merkel is widely predicted to be re-elected chancellor, her conservative CDU party seems to have taken a last-minute dip in support. It has slipped to 34 per cent, polls suggest, while Martin Schulz’s Social Democrats are polling at 21 per cent. His SPD, which has been the junior partner in Germany’s Grand Coalition since 2013, is predicted to suffer its worst-ever result. However, Schulz said he was confident everyone would be surprised by the outcome of the election.

The FDP, under Christian Lindner, is expected to make a comeback after failing to reach the five per cent threshold required to enter parliament four years ago. Polls suggest the party, which is vying to win the third-highest number of votes, will win 9 per cent of the vote on Sunday.

Martin Schulz and his campaign team thanked his supporters during a walkabout in his hometown Aachen, western Germany. Germany’s candidates campaign for one final time on Saturday, as polls suggest a third of the electorate is still undecided over who to vote for in Sunday’s general election / Photo: MSC

 

The AfD (Alternative for Germany) has also been out on the campaign trail. Polls suggest support for the anti-immigration party has risen to 13 per cent, meaning it is increasingly more likely to become the first far-right party to enter the German Parliament since the end of World War II. It could also become the biggest opposition party.

Die Linke and the Greens are predicted to clinch eleven and eight per cent respectively.

What remains to be seen is what kind of government will be formed, as a journalist noted: “For Angela Merkel it was – once more – a campaign from the position of German chancellor. There seems to be no doubt that her Union will be the strongest force in the new parliament. The voters will decide exactly how strong and with whom she will govern. The election is also a reflection on her chancellorship.”

According to the polls, the most likely governing majorities would be a grand coalition of the CDU/CSU and the SPD, which together amount to 55 per cent, and a ‘Jamaica alliance’ of CDU/CSU, FDP and Greens, which would reach a total of 51 per cent.

Femi Awoniyi with agency report

 

LEBARA