Merkel and Schultz close campaigns as German election looms

Merkel and Schultz close campaigns as German election looms

On the surface, the elections seem stodgy and uneventful.

If Merkel and Schulz's parties do not form another centrist coalition, the CDU will need to sign up to smaller parties to form a government. And then the other one is the right-wing populists' Alternative for Germany. Things are more complicated now.

49 year old Malika, a proud Syrian and a mother of four, was living a happy and comfortable life till her husband was killed by the Bashar al-Assad regime. But it's also too simplistic to say that it has unambiguously weakened her, in part because her rationale-"Wir schaffen das", or "We can handle it"-was an expression of the potential for action, rather than simple, open-armed humanitarianism".

That political caution stands sharply in contrast to President Donald Trump's flamboyance.

CHANG: So Merkel may be widely expected to win again, but she hasn't exactly had a smooth path to a fourth term. As much as she pushed to the center on the refugee issue and brought in the left part of electoral voters in her camp, as much she did lose on the right side.

That bridging role used to be Britain's forte because of its traditional special relationship with Washington.

The impacts of Merkel's reelection could make history over time by consolidating a diplomatic alliance between France and Germany powerful enough to strengthen unity among the EU's 28 members (27 after April 2019). Once in power, Merkel will face a range of new challenges.

Just two years ago, Europe was being written off as a declining global actor. Even Mrs Merkel's trademark hand gesture - fingers held together to form a diamond shape while she speaks - has been replicated on the banners held up by the cheering audience.

The sharing of false or misleading headlines and mass posting by automated social media "bots" have had little influence in Germany's quiet campaign, government officials and political experts say.

Shinzo Abe calls for enforcement of sanctions against North Korea
The US flew four F-35B stealth fighter jets and two B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula on Monday in a blunt show of force. On Sept 3, Pyongyang detonated its sixth nuclear device, seen as the most powerful ever conducted by the Asian country.

German, French and Italians and other members of the 14 original European Union member countries, have led the rush to apply to remain in the UK. But the undercurrent is likely to be very different from the past. For the first time, it could enter parliament with as many as three members.

The AfD, which has already won seats in 13 of 16 state legislatures in Germany, has promised to re-energise debate in the federal parliament after four years of what it calls "boring" rule by Merkel's grand coalition. But it is important for local and regional elections in following years.

After 12 years of running the country, Chancellor Merkel and her lieutenant still do not understand real democracy.

The results of the election should be announced as soon as Sunday evening, although coalition deliberations-typically an arduous process-may not wrap up for several more weeks.

She has urged the public to make sure they get out and vote amid fears voter apathy could provide a boost for the AfD. However, Germany is a top economic and commercial ally of the V4 countries.

Each lander is semi-autonomous, including its own financial institutions, and competes with others to attract business and investments.

"Both sides are eager to work together", Pierre Vimont, a former French and European Union diplomat who now works for the Carnegie Europe think tank in Brussels, told EUobserver. But given the manner in which this one foreign policy decision has changed the political landscape of the Germany, nothing about the election outcome remains predictable.

Aside from the hard-right populist noise, the past two months of campaigning by the major parties have been widely criticised as lacklustre and uninspired, with few hot-button issues dividing the main contenders. In diplomatic negotiations, she has the inscrutable eyes of a poker shark.

In 2016, Germany admitted more than one million Syrian immigrants, setting off a wave of anti-immigration sentiment that threatened to overwhelm Merkel's political power. Nearly all are Muslim Arabs who do not speak German and have an illiberal culture that seems to disrespect women and sees Western liberal morality as decadent. But Merkel has also made it clear that she's not interested in shutting the door entirely on the Trump administration.

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