Angela Merkel eyes her fourth term as chancellor

Germany goes to the polls as surveys indicate a clear win for Merkel - but there could be some surprises in store

23 September 2017, 5:39pm
Anegla Merkel faces off against Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament
Anegla Merkel faces off against Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament
Germany goes to the polls on Sunday with Chancellor Angela Merkel seen as the heavy favourite.

Polls currently show that Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party - with its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) - will be the largest party after the Bundestag election on 24 September, but they will fall short of a majority.

Merkel's CDU is looking most likely to win the most seats in the Bundestag - for the fourth election in a row. 

The SPD, led former President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, is in second place in the polls - securing around a quarter of the vote.

Support for Merkel's CDU/CSU bloc - known as the 'Union' - stood at 37 percent on Friday, its lowest since April, but still far ahead of the SPD, on 20 percent
Support for Merkel's CDU/CSU bloc - known as the 'Union' - stood at 37 percent on Friday, its lowest since April, but still far ahead of the SPD, on 20 percent
The far-right Alternative for Germany party - had enjoyed a slight rise in the polls in 2016 but have since collapsed into in-fighting and unpopularity.

The CDU will have to seek a coalition agreement with the SPD or one of the other minor parties to form a government. 

A late surge in support has propelled the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party into third place in the opinion polls with just days to go before the ballot.

If the AfD to secure a third place finish they could find themselves becoming the main opposition party in Germany if Merkel's CDU/CSU party decide to extend their Grand Coalition with the SPD.

The polls are suggesting that Germans are content with their current government, which means a Grand Coalition could happen for a third time in just four elections.

Another option is a Black-Yellow coalition, consisting of Merkel's CDU party propped up by the smaller Free Democratic Party (FDP). This would take Merkel over the target needed for a majority, and was the option the party opted for in 2009-2013. 

The only situation that poses a risk to Merkel’s leadership is a left-wing "Red-Red-Green" coalition, led by the SPD's Martin Schulz. For this, he would have to gather enough seats together alongside the Linke (Left) and Grüne (Greens) parties.