World Germany: last big debate between the candidates for the succession of Angela Merkel
'One of us': Merkel hometown a refuge from wild world
There's a place just 90 minutes' drive from Berlin where Angela Merkel can escape the crucible of her office, see the people who've known her longest and let her hair down. - 'Tenacity' - Merkel frequently flees the pressure cooker of Berlin for Templin, just 80 kilometres (50 miles) to the north, at the weekends with her chemist husband Joachim Sauer. Except for attending church, the couple largely keep to themselves."She's completely normal. When she goes shopping, you hardly notice her, she's practically incognito," said 68-year-old pensioner Bernd Retter, who said he attended the same school as the future German leader.
to three days of the vote, A televised debate gathered this Thursday evening 23 September, on the two German public channels, the officials of the seven parties represented in the outgoing Parliament. The latest polls give the SPD led by the Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz still in mind, but closely followed by the Christian Democrats and their candidate Armin Leschet.
After three debates that opposed the only candidates for the Chancery, the circle has expanded and new topics were put on the table, reports our correspondent to Berlin, Pascal Thibaut . Among them, housing and tensions on the real estate market, a matter of a lot of Germans. Not surprisingly, all want to build more.
Merkel party learns to campaign again as election looms
With Germany's Christian Democrats (CDU) trailing in the polls ahead of an election next week, grassroots party members are resorting to an activity that had almost become redundant under Angela Merkel: campaigning. The centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) are currently leading in the polls, with the conservatives in a position they have become unaccustomed to after 16 years of Merkel: second place. "I didn't expect it to be so close," says Hans-Georg Friedrichs, a longtime CDU activist in Bremen. "Laschet doesn't have the advantage of already being well-known. He's had to make himself known.
Foreign policy, absent from other debates, has also been addressed. The two possible chancellors, Armin Laschet and Olaf Scholz, have very close positions on Europe. The criticisms of the Die Linke Party against NATO and external interventions have once again shown the difficulties of an alliance of the three courses on the left, again denounced by the Conservative Leschet candidate.
► to read also:Scholz blur on its future alliances
video: Yannick Jadot or Sandrine Rousseau: Do ecologists build on the German Greens? (France 24)
His opponent, the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, again preferred to remain blurred on his future alliances and pleaded for his chapel. "Those who want me to run the next government should vote for the SPD.
What Merkel, the belated feminist, did for women
As Germany's first female chancellor, Angela Merkel smashed the glass ceiling and became a leading player in global politics. Merkel, who is bowing out of politics after Germany's September 26 election, admitted she had been "shy" about the label but said her thinking on the issue had evolved. "Essentially, it's about the fact that men and women are equal," the 67-year-old said. Ines Kappert, head of the Gunda Werner Institute for Feminism and Gender Democracy in Berlin, called Merkel's belated realisation "a slap in the face" for women.
The Green Candidate Annalya Baerbock has logically highlighted the breakup that she wants to incarnate by presenting himself as the one who wants a profound change in the fight against global warming. "One more years more for electricity produced with coal will not bring Germany closer to climate neutrality and ensure the future of our children and grandchildren.
► to listen:"Jamaican Coalition"
The elbow-to-elbow between conservative and social democrats in surveys give a significant weight to the Liberal FDP party that can be the King's maker. His President Christian Lindner reiterated his preferences for an alliance with the CDU and the Greens. "The most important convergences reside in a Jamaican coalition" - the flag of this island state of the Caribbean has the same colors as the three parties.
But the Liberals could also serve as a booster for SPD and the Greens. The ballot is more open than ever.
► to listen:
Germany decides who will take charge after Merkel .
The election race could barely be tighter as voters decide who will run Europe's biggest economy.The streets of Berlin are hosting the annual marathon, but the biggest race is taking place across the country.