German politics is dominated by two parties – the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the left-leaning Social Democratic Party, or SPD – which have ruled together in a coalition for the past eight years.
But the popularity of other parties has grown over the past decade as the CDU and SPD have lost ground. This election is particularly close; The CDU and SPD both have voting advantages, and the Green Party has also emerged as a serious contender.
Here are the candidates:
Armin Lasquet: Christian Democratic Union
Merkel’s successor at the helm of the CDU is 60-year-old Armin Laschet, a longtime ally of the chancellor and the party’s deputy leader since 2012.
A devout Catholic, whose father was once a coal mining engineer, he was chosen as the party’s candidate after a tortuous leadership struggle.
Laschet has a background in law and journalism, and was elected to the German Bundestag in 1994.
Merkel has expressed her support for Lachette, but despite her efforts to persuade the Germans to stay with the CDU, voting suggests her replacement as the party’s leader struggles to win over the Germans.
Olaf Scholz: Social Democratic Party
His most prominent rival is the SPD’s Olaf Scholz, who has taken a surprising lead in polls in recent weeks, leading him in Sunday’s vote.
Like Laschet, Scholz has a long history as a political player in Germany. He has been Merkel’s finance minister and chancellor since 2018. He previously served as Minister of Labor and Social Affairs between 2007 and 2009. These roles put him in a better position to run as his natural successor than his party’s candidate.
Scholz has earned more visibility as he navigates Germany’s economic response to the pandemic, and overcomes the final election hurdle a sure performance In the final televised debate.
The SPD, Germany’s oldest political party, founded in 1863, supports a greater focus on social issues and wants higher taxes for the more affluent in Germany.
Annalena Berbock: Green Party
Green Party leader Annalena Beerbock caused a brief sensation in German politics when she swept the polls early in the campaign, leaving voters to wonder if she could become the country’s first Green chancellor.
The Green Party is now seen as a potential kingmaker in coalition talks.
Christian Lindner: Free Democratic Party
Another party that could be a potential kingmaker in coalition talks is the moderate Free Democratic Party (FDP).
The FDP has never led the German government, but has traditionally exerted influence over the decades, mostly in alliance with the CDU and the SPD.
Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla: Alternatives to Germany (AfD)
The far-right AfD remains a stubborn presence on the political scene, starring Alice Weidel and Tino Kripalla.
The refugee crisis that sparked the AfD’s boom in German politics in 2015 has diminished as a pressing political issue, but the party remains an outlet for voters angered by immigration issues. In March, they became the first German party in the post-Nazi era. kept under government surveillance.
It is currently the third largest party in the German Parliament and the largest opposition party in the last four years.
In 2017, the AFD managed to steal voters from the CDU (voters who were unhappy with Merkel’s shift to center) and the SPD. However, the party has since struggled to maintain its momentum and has faced harsh criticism over ultra-right ties.
Credit : edition.cnn.com