POLITICAL OVERVIEW: Merkel comes out atop of TV Duel with Schulz, election seems all but decided

SPD chancellor candidate Martin Schulz on a campaign event. Photo Credit: Christallkeks

With little more than two weeks to go until the federal election, Chancellor Angela Merkel seems poised to return to her office. Whether it is going to be with the SPD in a grand coalition or with a combination of Greens and the FDP, however, is not clear.

At the only TV duel that the two leading candidates, Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz, were going to have, both made it a point to not exclude any option but a coalition with the AfD (and The Left in the case of the CDU). Given the current polls, a grand coalition is the only option for the SPD, while the CDU could potentially coalesce with either SPD or Liberals, or a combination of FDP and Greens.

The TV duel itself was somewhat disappointing. Even though Merkel was facing tough questions for her performance in the refugee crisis in 2015 and even tough Martin Schulz at times was really aggressive, the Chancellor was considered to be to be the consummate winner. The duel overall was critiqued for a lack of variety in topics, as issues such as education and digitalisation were not even breached by the moderators, while immigration and integration were given oversize attention.

A later TV duel between the leading candidates of the other parties (The Left, FDP, Greens, AfD, CSU) wasn’t much better. While digitisation was dealt with for a few minutes, the politicians didn’t state much more than platitudes. Only Christian Lindner of the liberal FDP was a bit more concrete, repeating his often voiced attacks on the market power of Google and Apple, which we reported various times in the past.

Overall, the poll numbers currently are as follows: CDU/CSU 38.5%, SPD 24%, FDP 10%, The Left and AfD 8%, Greens 7.5%. With a majority requiring 323 seats, CDU/CSU and FDP would have a slight majority of 326 seats.

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