Germans began voting in a national election on Sunday that is likely to see Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to cruise to victory in elections.
For months, the woman now dubbed the “eternal chancellor” has been the favourite over her centre-left rival Martin Schulz and looked set to win another term and match the 16-year reign of her mentor Helmut Kohl.
Ms. Merkel’s conservative bloc is on track to remain the largest group in parliament, opinion polls indicated, but a fracturing of the political landscape may well make it harder for her to form a ruling coalition than previously.
But the election is also expected to mark a milestone for the four-year-old Alternative for Germany (AfD) which, like right-wing populists elsewhere, rails against migrants, Muslims and mainstream parties.
It has been polling at 11-13 percent and could become Germany’s third strongest party, driven by anger over the influx of one million migrants and refugees, many from war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, since 2015.
About Angela Mekel
Angela Dorothea Merkel is a German politician and Chancellor of Germany since 2005. She has also been the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 10 April 2000. Merkel has been widely described as the de facto leader of the European Union, the most powerful woman in the world, and the leader of the free world.
A former research scientist with a doctorate in physical chemistry, Merkel entered politics in East Germany in the wake of the Revolutions of 1989, and briefly served as a deputy spokesperson for the first democratically elected East German Government headed by Lothar de Maizière in 1990. Following German reunification in 1990, Merkel was elected to the Bundestag for the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and has been reelected ever since. Merkel was appointed as the Minister for Women and Youth in the federal government under Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1991, and became the Minister for the Environment in 1994. After her party lost the federal election in 1998, Merkel was elected Secretary-General of the CDU before becoming the party’s first female leader two years later in the aftermath of a donations scandal that toppled Wolfgang Schäuble.
Following the 2005 federal election, Merkel was appointed Germany’s first female Chancellor at the head of a grand coalition consisting of the CDU, its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). In the 2009 federal election, the CDU obtained the largest share of the vote and Merkel was able to form a coalition government with the support of the Free Democratic Party (FDP). At the 2013 federal election, Merkel’s CDU won a landslide victory with 41.5% of the vote and formed a second grand coalition with the SPD, after the FDP lost all of its representation in the Bundestag