Like Trump, German's anti-immigrant party shows unexpected strength

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As she launches into a well-rehearsed speech without notes, Angela Merkel knows she will - most likely - win this election.

These centrifugal forces among the electorate posed a huge challenge for Die Linke, which ultimately responded with a kind of schizophrenic division of labor: party co-chair Katja Kipping tried to relate to the refugee movement politically, while leading candidate Sahra Wagenknecht made overtures to those whose response to the refugee movement was primarily one of fear. Friday's polls put Ms Merkel 24 per cent ahead of Mr Schulz in terms of personal popularity.

Support for the AfD, jumped two points to 11 percent in a Forsa poll, putting it on course to become the first hard-right party in more than half a century to clear the five per cent hurdle and enter parliament. All of the major parties have promised tax cuts ranging from 10 billion euros (SPD) to 30 billion (FDP).

But, a bit more. here is UBS on what election means for the European Central Bank. After the Brexit-upset and President Trump's surprise victory, one can not entirely rule out a hidden AfD vote.

Germany has existed in many states over the years, but here are the longest-serving chancellors of the Federal Republic of Germany, which started in 1949.

Voters cast two votes.

Who are the main players? .

This is perhaps a measure of Angela Merkel's hold on power. The CDU and its sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), are in the same parliamentary group. But the incident only demonstrated how little Merkel needed Schulz, or anyone, to defend her.

Polls show conservative Merkel, trusted by stability-loving Germans to stand up to unpredictable leaders in the likes of the United States, Russia and Turkey, is on track to win. His initial popularity as a potential "people's chancellor" has nosedived.

"The nationalist rhetoric being used by AfD politicians shows that one must assume that an attitude incompatible with Germany's constitution is not only present in the party base but also among its leaders", Martin Schulz, Merkel's present coalition partner and main electoral rival, told the German weekly Der Spiegel earlier this month.

But his SPD looks set to fare even worse, garnering an estimated 22 per cent, which would be an unmitigated disaster for Germany's oldest party.

The answer will decide who will take the lead in the Franco-German axis that will shape the future of the eurozone: France's new president Emmanuel Macron or Merkel?

The SDP is a centre-left party that now is the CDU's main opposition for votes.

Although several other smaller parties will be on the ballot, observers are likely to keenly watch results for the Alternative for Germany (AfD). But then German voters don't have much choice.

The Alliance '90/the Greens occupies the liberal-leaning part of the political spectrum.

German voters do not directly elect the chancellor.

For her pragmatism and prudence, and most importantly, her capacity to follow her moral instinct, Merkel will be remembered by her country, and by the entire European Union, as the reassuring face who was in the right country at the right time.

Without question, national security and immigration policy will dominate this year's vote.

Decker is among the many German entrepreneurs that are generally pleased with Merkel's approach to governance: Over the last decade, the chancellor has consistently pushed for broader European integration, and helped to strengthen worldwide economic relations. And the other thing is that she's never quite overcome the public backlash about her decision in 2015 to open German borders to almost a million asylum seekers and other migrants. She has also introduced tough measures to clamp down on and deport rejected asylum-seekers.

Germany's relationship with the Trump administration is at play.

But there's no doubt many German voters, decided or undecided about Merkel, still see her as a safe pair of hands.

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