Germany goes to the polls
The opinion polls and news reports leave no doubt: Angela Merkel and the sister parties CDU-CSU are set to win Sunday's general elections to the German Bundestag. The fact that after twelve years of Merkel as chancellor there's still no sign of a change surprises some journalists, who accuse her of serious mistakes. Others believe a fourth term for Merkel will make the entire European Union more stable.
Turkish President Erdoğan has called on Turks resident in Germany not to vote in the German elections for the "enemies of Turkey" - the CDU, the SPD and the Greens. Federal Foreign Minister Gabriel then challenged this "invasion of German sovereignty". Commentators debate the background to this exchange of blows.
SPD chancellor candidate Martin Schulz has called Germany's Agenda 2010 reforms into question: his campaign will focus on corrections to the social reforms introduced under the SPD-Green Party government between 2003 to 2005. Among other things Schulz plans to extend unemployment benefits. Can he beat Chancellor Merkel with this strategy? And what role will refugee policy play in the campaigning?
Victory for the CDU, a bitter defeat for the SPD: Angela Merkel's party has won the elections in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia with 33 percent of the vote. Securing just 31.2 percent the SPD, traditionally the strongest party in the state, lost almost eight points. Commentators across Europe discuss the election in Germany's most populous state and conclude that it has a signal effect.