60.4 million Germans to choose Angela Merkel's successor on September 26 Federal elections

 Social Democratic Party (SPD) has slight lead over Merkel's CDU/CSU in the razor edge elections

The 60.4 million German voters will decide the next Chancellor on Sunday September 26 in German Federal Elections. Every voter cast two ballots. One to choose direct constituency member parliament and the other for the party. 299 members of parliament elected directly from electoral districts while remaining 299 will be elected through proportional representation. 
This election will end the Merkel era of 16 years. German chancellor decided to step down after ruling Germany for 16 years. She is still the most popular German leader but decided to quit. 
The Social Democratic Party (SPD) has slight lead in a very close election. The Centre-left SPD was trailing at third place six months ago but it has made gains in last few months.The last week's polling  average gave centre- left SPD three points advantage over its closet rival Merkel's Conservative CDU/CSU. 
SPD is at 25.3% while CDU/CSU is at 22.4%. The left leaning Green Party is at third spot with 15.7%. The Greens were leading the opinion polls few months ago but now been pushed to third place.  The liberal FDP is at 11.4% while extreme rightwing AFD  is expecting to get 10.8% votes. The Left Party (Die Linke) is at 6.2% and expected to make it to the parliament. 

According to latest poll by the Allensbach Institute, Only one percentage point is separating the  arch rivals SPD at 26% and  CDU at 25% , respectively. A razor edge election is expected on Sunday. 


According to Germany’s federal returning officer, nearly 40% German voters will use the option of postal ballot. In 2017 elections, 28.6% voters preferred to vote through postal ballot. The results will be announced on Sunday evening. 
The Climate Change is one of the main issue of this campaign.   On Friday, more than 100,000 protesters joined a Fridays for Future demonstration outside the German parliament building in Berlin, where activist Greta Thunberg told crowds that “no political party is doing even close to enough” to avoid climate disaster.

Other points of debate included social welfare spending and raising the minimum wage, overhauling Germany’s rickety digital infrastructure, and the country’s role in the NATO alliance.

Success and failure in the campaign have largely been determined by party leaders’ ability to frame themselves as a natural heir to Merkel, who remains Germany’s most popular politician.

Latest opinion polls give the centre-left a narrow lead over the outgoing chancellor's conservatives. But one thing is clear; whoever wins will have to put together a coalition. Three parties currently believe they could secure enough seats in parliament to do that and choose the next chancellor.  

On Sunday 26 September, Germans will elect the lower house of the federal parliament, the Bundestag. Although voting in person takes place on the day, postal voting has already begun. Some 60.4 million Germans over the age of 18 are eligible to vote. The Bundestag is made up of at least 598 seats, and usually more. The last parliament had 709 seats.

                                                                             Khalid Bhatti 


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