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World Closely fought German election ushers in post-Merkel era

09:40  26 september  2021
09:40  26 september  2021 Source:   msn.com

As Merkel bids farewell, German women wish for more equality

  As Merkel bids farewell, German women wish for more equality BERLIN (AP) — Angela Merkel, Germany's first female chancellor, has been praised by many for her pragmatic leadership in a turbulent world and celebrated by some as a feminist icon. But a look at her track record over her 16 years at Germany's helm reveals missed opportunities for fighting gender inequality at home. Named “The World’s Most Powerful Woman” by Forbes magazine for the last 10 years in a row, Merkel has been cast as a powerful defender of liberal values in the West. She has easily stood her ground at male-dominated summits with leaders such as former U.S. President Donald Trump or Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The fight to succeed popular, long-serving chancellor Angela Merkel could barely be tighter as Germans go to the polls in parliamentary elections . The streets of Berlin are hosting the annual marathon, but the biggest race is taking place across the country. This unpredictable election looked over until Mrs Merkel entered the fray, her career at the top of German politics now weeks from coming to an end. "It really matters who's in power," she warned voters repeatedly in the 48 hours before the vote.

Angela Merkel ’s long goodbye as Germany ’s chancellor finally draws to a close this weekend as votes in the federal election are tallied – at least in theory. If the latest opinion polls are to be believed, there will be no clear winner. No party is expected to command an overall Bundestag majority. This is a problem. The campaign highlighted pressing issues that were ignored during the Merkel era . One is pension reform for an ageing population. Another is inadequate public investment in healthcare, utilities, housing and broadband. Recent floods in western Germany revealed a lack of structural resilience.

BERLIN (AP) — German voters are choosing a new parliament in an election that will determine who succeeds Chancellor Angela Merkel after her 16 years at the helm of Europe's biggest economy.

FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021 file photo, People walk and drive past election posters of the three candidates for German chancellor , from right, Armin Laschet, Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Annalena Baerbock, German Green party (Die Gruenen) and Olaf Scholz, Social Democratic Party (SPD), at a street in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Germany’s closely fought election on Sunday will set the direction of the European Union’s most populous country after 16 years under Angela Merkel, whose party is scrambling to avoid defeat by its center-left rivals after a rollercoaster campaign. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021 file photo, People walk and drive past election posters of the three candidates for German chancellor , from right, Armin Laschet, Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Annalena Baerbock, German Green party (Die Gruenen) and Olaf Scholz, Social Democratic Party (SPD), at a street in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Germany’s closely fought election on Sunday will set the direction of the European Union’s most populous country after 16 years under Angela Merkel, whose party is scrambling to avoid defeat by its center-left rivals after a rollercoaster campaign. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

Polls point to a very close race Sunday between Merkel's center-right Union bloc, with state governor Armin Laschet running for chancellor, and the center-left Social Democrats, for whom outgoing finance minister and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz is seeking the top job.

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  Angela Merkel saw Germans through crisis after crisis. Now they wonder who'll fill the void It's difficult to imagine today, as Germany's widely-respected Chancellor prepares to step down after more than 15 years in the top job, but in the early stages of her career Merkel was regularly belittled and looked down on -- even by those who were supposedly on her side. The protégé of then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Merkel was known by him as "mein Maedel" -- "my girl.

Berlin: Germany ’s closely fought election on Sunday will set the direction of the European Union’s most populous country after 16 years under Angela Merkel , whose party is scrambling to avoid defeat by its center-left rivals after a rollercoaster campaign. The environmentalist Greens also are eyeing at least a About 60.4 million people in the nation of 83 million are eligible to elect the new parliament, which decides who will be the next head of government. Recent polls point to a neck-and-neck race between Merkel ’s center-right Union bloc and the Social Democrats, with the latter marginally ahead.

Germans are voting in two state elections this Sunday, and the party of Angela Merkel may lose both of them, potentially setting the stage for defeat in September’s general election that will determine the next chancellor. Merkel will not be running for a sixth term as the leader of the German government, but her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party is yet to choose their candidate. The CDU is suffering from a plunge in support due to the worse-than-expected rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and a recent corruption scandal involving party MPs.

Olaf Scholz, Federal Minister of Finance and SPD candidate for Chancellor, speaks during a campaign event in his constituency 61 on the city square in the residential area Am Schlaatz, Potsdam, Germany, Saturday Sept. 25, 2021, ahead of the German general election on Sunday. (Soeren Stache/dpa via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Olaf Scholz, Federal Minister of Finance and SPD candidate for Chancellor, speaks during a campaign event in his constituency 61 on the city square in the residential area Am Schlaatz, Potsdam, Germany, Saturday Sept. 25, 2021, ahead of the German general election on Sunday. (Soeren Stache/dpa via AP)

Recent surveys show the Social Democrats marginally ahead. The environmentalist Greens, with candidate Annalena Baerbock, are making their first run for the chancellery, and polls say they are several points behind in third place. The Social Democrats have been boosted by Scholz's relative popularity after a long poll slump. Baerbock suffered from early gaffes and Laschet, the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia state, has struggled to motivate his party's traditional base.

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  What does life after Merkel look like? Germans are set to decide in a tight election Germans will file into polling stations to vote in an unpredictable federal election on Sunday -- but for the first time in nearly two decades, their longtime leader won't be in contention.Chancellor Angela Merkel has been a symbol of stability in Europe since she took on the role in 2005; the chemist-turned-political mainstay has withstood a wave of populism, a financial crisis, a pandemic and Brexit to carve out an impressive legacy as the world's most successful female leader.

Almost every article written about Angela Merkel’s tenure as Germany ’s chancellor notes that one of her greatest political strengths has been that she is so often underestimated. In this, she is not unique: Helmut Kohl, who launched Ms. Merkel into politics and spent even more time in the chancellor’s office, once declared, “I make my living by being underestimated.” There will be many more assessments of her 16-year reign after the elections on Sunday that will determine her successor, and of what follows, and many will focus on the uncertainties facing German and European politics in the post - Merkel era .

Germany ’s closely fought election on Sunday will set the direction of the European Union’s most populous country after 16 years under Angela Merkel , whose party is scrambling to avoid defeat by its center-left rivals after a rollercoaster campaign. A first-place finish for the Social Democrats, who provided three of Germany 's eight post -World War II chancellors but have been Merkel 's junior governing partners for 12 of the past 16 years, would be remarkable after a long poll slump for the party. When the Union and the Greens chose their candidates this spring, the election was widely expected

Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, stands beside Governor Armin Laschet, left, top candidate for the upcoming election, speaking at the final election campaign event of the Christian Democratic Party, CDU, ahead of the German general election in Aachen, Germany, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) © Provided by Associated Press Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, stands beside Governor Armin Laschet, left, top candidate for the upcoming election, speaking at the final election campaign event of the Christian Democratic Party, CDU, ahead of the German general election in Aachen, Germany, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

About 60.4 million people in the nation of 83 million are eligible to elect the new Bundestag, or lower house of parliament, which will elect the next head of government.

No party is expected to come anywhere near an outright majority. Polls show support for all of them below 30%.

Such a result could mean that many governing coalitions are mathematically possible, and trigger weeks or months of haggling to form a new government. Until it is in place, Merkel will remain in office on a caretaker basis.

Merkel has won plaudits for steering Germany through several major crises. The new chancellor will have to tend the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, which Germany so far has weathered relatively well thanks to large rescue programs that have incurred new debt.

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Germans vote in a general election . Who will replace Angela Merkel ? Will concerns over climate change give a boost to the progressive Green party? Or will the far-right AfD populists come out strong? DW brings you all the news and analysis. What will German -US ties look like after Merkel era ? Whoever fills Angela Merkel 's shoes will have little choice but to continue fostering trans-Atlantic ties.

BERLIN (AP) — Germany ’s closely fought election on Sunday will set the direction of the European Union’s most populous country after 16 years under Angela Merkel . The chancellor’s party is scrambling to avoid defeat by its center-left rivals after a rollercoaster campaign. About 60.4 million people in the nation of 83 million are eligible to elect the new parliament, which decides who will be the next head of government. Recent polls point to a neck-and-neck race between Merkel ’s center-right Union bloc and the Social Democrats, with the latter marginally ahead going into Election Day.

Laschet insists there should be no tax increases as Germany pulls out of the pandemic. Scholz and Baerbock favor tax hikes for the richest Germans, and also back an increase in the minimum wage.

Scholz on Friday touted the outgoing government’s success in preserving jobs during the pandemic, declaring that “we are succeeding in avoiding the major economic and social crisis that otherwise would have hit us.”

“We will achieve new growth if we do the right thing now in economic policy,” Laschet said at a rally Saturday in his home city of Aachen. “If we do it wrong now, with ideological experiments, everything that we have built up in 16 years will be squandered.”

Merkel, making the last of only a handful of appearances in this campaign, praised Laschet as someone who “builds bridges, takes people along with him.”

Germany's leading parties have significant differences in their proposals for tackling climate change. Laschet’s Union bloc is pinning its hopes on technological solutions and a market-driven approach, while the Greens want to ramp up carbon prices and end the use of coal earlier than planned. Scholz has emphasized the need to protect jobs as Germany transitions to greener energy.

Floods, books & kids: Highlights of German election campaign

  Floods, books & kids: Highlights of German election campaign BERLIN (AP) — Germans go to the polls on Sunday to elect a new parliament and produce a new German leader after 16 years of having Angela Merkel at the helm. Merkel decided not to run for a fifth term and the election campaign has largely focused on the three candidates hoping to succeed her. Here is a look at the highs, the lows and the unexpected that happened during Germany's latest campaign: WHAT'S HOT Climate change rose to the top of Germany's political agenda over the summer, following the deadly floods that hit western Germany in July and which experts say will become more likely if global warming continues.

FILE - In this Monday, Sept.20, 2021 file photo, top candidate for chancellor of the Greens Annalena Baerbock laughs during an election campaign in Mainz, Germany. Germany’s closely fought election on Sunday will set the direction of the European Union’s most populous country after 16 years under Angela Merkel, whose party is scrambling to avoid defeat by its center-left rivals after a rollercoaster campaign. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Monday, Sept.20, 2021 file photo, top candidate for chancellor of the Greens Annalena Baerbock laughs during an election campaign in Mainz, Germany. Germany’s closely fought election on Sunday will set the direction of the European Union’s most populous country after 16 years under Angela Merkel, whose party is scrambling to avoid defeat by its center-left rivals after a rollercoaster campaign. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)

Foreign policy hasn’t featured much in the campaign, though the Greens favor a tougher stance toward China and Russia.

As they have struggled in polls, Laschet and other Union leaders have warned that Scholz and the Greens would form a coalition with the opposition Left Party, which opposes NATO and German military deployments abroad. Whether such a partnership is realistic is questionable, given foreign policy and other differences between the parties, but that line of attack may help turn out the conservative base.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, left sparks beside Governor Armin Laschet, top candidate for the upcoming election, right, at the final election campaign event of the Christian Democratic Party, CDU, ahead of the German general election in Aachen, Germany, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) © Provided by Associated Press Chancellor Angela Merkel, left sparks beside Governor Armin Laschet, top candidate for the upcoming election, right, at the final election campaign event of the Christian Democratic Party, CDU, ahead of the German general election in Aachen, Germany, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Scholz has said he'd like a two-party coalition with the Greens, but that looks very optimistic. Absent a majority for that, his first choice would likely be an alliance with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats.

Merkel's legacy looms large over Germany. Who will step up in her place?

  Merkel's legacy looms large over Germany. Who will step up in her place? “Whoever comes in isn’t going to have that stature, isn’t going to have that kind of history and practice,” one analyst said.After 16 years beset by crises and critics, Angela Merkel, arguably the world’s most powerful woman, is stepping down from the world stage.

A coalition with those two parties is also Laschet’s likeliest route to power. The Greens favor an alliance with the Social Democrats, while the Free Democrats prefer one with the Union.

The result may also allow a repeat of the outgoing “grand coalition” of the traditional big parties, the Union and Social Democrats, under either Scholz or Laschet.

Olaf Scholz, Federal Minister of Finance and SPD candidate for Chancellor, speaks during a campaign event in his constituency 61 on the city square in the residential area Am Schlaatz, Potsdam, Germany, Saturday Sept. 25, 2021, ahead of the German general election on Sunday. (Soeren Stache/dpa via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Olaf Scholz, Federal Minister of Finance and SPD candidate for Chancellor, speaks during a campaign event in his constituency 61 on the city square in the residential area Am Schlaatz, Potsdam, Germany, Saturday Sept. 25, 2021, ahead of the German general election on Sunday. (Soeren Stache/dpa via AP)

The far-right Alternative for Germany party is polling a little below the 12.6% it won to enter parliament in 2017, but won't feature in any new government this time either. All other parties say they won't work with it.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Governor Armin Laschet, top candidate for the upcoming election, wave to supporters at the final election campaign event of the Christian Democratic Party, CDU, ahead of the German general election in Aachen, Germany, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) © Provided by Associated Press Chancellor Angela Merkel and Governor Armin Laschet, top candidate for the upcoming election, wave to supporters at the final election campaign event of the Christian Democratic Party, CDU, ahead of the German general election in Aachen, Germany, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

The Bundestag has at least 598 seats, but Germany’s complex voting system means that it can be considerably larger. The outgoing parliament had a record 709 seats and the new one is widely expected to be even bigger.

Olaf Scholz, Federal Minister of Finance and SPD candidate for Chancellor, speaks during a campaign event in his constituency 61 on the city square in the residential area Am Schlaatz, Potsdam, Germany, Saturday Sept. 25, 2021, ahead of the German general election on Sunday. (Soeren Stache/dpa via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Olaf Scholz, Federal Minister of Finance and SPD candidate for Chancellor, speaks during a campaign event in his constituency 61 on the city square in the residential area Am Schlaatz, Potsdam, Germany, Saturday Sept. 25, 2021, ahead of the German general election on Sunday. (Soeren Stache/dpa via AP)

The number of people voting by postal ballot is expected to be higher than the 28.6% who did so four years ago. Also Sunday, voters in Berlin and in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in northeastern Germany — both states currently led by the Social Democrats — are electing new state legislatures.

Candidates for the upcoming German election attend a final televised debate in Berlin, Thursday Sept. 23, 2021, ahead of the election on Sunday. From left, Annalena Baerbock, Green Party co-leader, Olaf Scholz, Finance Minister and SPD candidate, and Janine Wissler, co-leader of the left party Die Linke. (Tobias Schwarz/Pool via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Candidates for the upcoming German election attend a final televised debate in Berlin, Thursday Sept. 23, 2021, ahead of the election on Sunday. From left, Annalena Baerbock, Green Party co-leader, Olaf Scholz, Finance Minister and SPD candidate, and Janine Wissler, co-leader of the left party Die Linke. (Tobias Schwarz/Pool via AP)

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Follow AP’s coverage of Germany’s election at https://apnews.com/hub/germany-election

What a cracker! Merkel pecked by parrot .
BERLIN (AP) — Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel provided a rare splash of color amid Germany's staid election campaign while visiting a bird park where she posed with half a dozen parrots. Not content with the bird feed on offer, one of the rainbow lorikeets took a peck at the long-time German leader's hand, prompting a theatrical scream from Merkel. Merkel, who is not running for a fifth term, visited the northeastern state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania on Thursday to promote the center-right Union bloc's candidate in the constituency she has held since 1990.

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