Germany to choose new government as Chancellor Angela Merkel steps down after 16 years


On Sunday, as Germany conducts its general elections, one popular politician will be missed by thousands of Germans. Angela Merkel, who has served a 16-year term as Chancellor of Germany, is no longer in the fray as she has already indicated, weeks ago, that she will not be running for the position.


The latest polls in Germany indicate that the Social Democratic Party, which is center-left, is a little ahead of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which is center right and its Bavarian partner the Christian Social Union.


Three other parties have also polled double digits: The Green Party followed by Alternative for Germany, which is far-right and the libertarian Free Democratic Party.


The Germany of today has a fragmented system, according to Josef Janning who is a senior associate fellow with the German Council on Foreign Relations. He told NPR that a party that can poll more than 20 percent of the vote can be considered to be a major party.


He also mentioned that Germany is now diversified and major parties don’t seem to be attracting voters outside of their traditional bases. Class or religion is no longer a dominating factor in the ballot. Specific interests and like-minded groups are having a larger impact on the voting patterns of the electorate.


Another factor that is said to have an impact on the vote bank of the major party in Germany is the stepping down of Angela Merkel. The Chancellor has been one of the most revered figures in Germany, in the European Union and in the world. Her successor in the CDU, Armin Laschet, has not been able to get the kind of support Angela Merkel had through the years.


Some Germans says that they would vote for the Green Party as an alternative to the CDU although they know it is difficult for the Party to become the major one in the nation. Young parents and the younger generation say that they will vote for the Green Party as they want a better climate for the future and believe that traditional parties haven’t done enough to mitigate climate change.


A coalition is expected unless one of the mentioned political parties gets a majority, which does seem unlikely, as experts say the vote is too close to call.

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