German election: eurozone crisis could hinder Angela Merkel’s re-election

Economic bailouts for struggling eurozone countries are high on the agenda as Germany goes to the polls on Sunday

Germany goes to the polls on Sunday in elections whose outcome will be vital for Europe’s future. From 8am this morning, 61.8m voters will be able to decide if chancellor Angela Merkel will get a third term in office.

While Merkel’s party is expected to once again emerge as the most powerful force in the new Bundestag, the German chancellor will be anxiously watching the performance of the anti-euro Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, which could enter parliament for the first time if it gains more than 5% of the vote.

Any gains for the AfD is likely to come at a cost for Merkel’s old coalition partner, the Free Democrats (FDP). If they fail to get 5%, Merkel would lose her current coalition partner. In three of the latest polls, Alternative für Deutschland had polled at 4-4.5%, the FDP at 5-6%.

In a poll commissioned by tabloid Bild am Sonntag, the CDU-FDP retain their majority by the narrowest of margins. Another poll, by Forsa, has the coalition in a perfect stalemate with a three-way coalition between the Social Democrats, Greens and the Left Party.

In her final public appearance before the election, Merkel made a point of distancing herself from critics of the common currency: “The stabilisation of the euro is not only good for Europe, but also in Germany’s elemental interest,” she said at a rally in Berlin on Saturday afternoon.

Some of her party members have been more ambiguous. In the state of Hesse, where a regional election will take place at the same time as the general election, the CDU’s candidate had originally refused to rule out a coalition with the AfD, but has since promised that such a solution would not be an option.

The Social Democrats have been calling for a “Marshall Plan for Europe” directed at struggling Mediterranean countries, and would be expected to make demands in these areas in a grand coalition. If the anti-euro AfD were to enter parliament, however, Merkel may find herself with limited manoeuvring space regarding further bailouts. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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