(© picture-alliance/dpa)

  Germany goes to the polls

  9 Debates

A right-wing populist party will enter the German Bundestag for the first time. With 12.6 percent of the vote, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) was the third-strongest force in the elections on September 24. Journalists speculate on what this will mean for German politics and ask who is responsible for the right-wing party's strong showing.

After the German elections several foreign heads of state and government congratulated Chancellor Merkel on her conservatives' victory and stressed their willingness to cooperate. But in view of the changes in Germany's domestic political situation commentators express concern for Europe's stability.

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.

After the TV debate between Chancellor Merkel and her Social Democratic challenger Schulz the SPD is hovering between 21 and 24 percent in the polls. As a result the only question the commentators are discussing is with whom Merkel's CDU should form a government with after the elections.

The TV debate between CDU Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Social Democratic challenger Martin Schulz drew plenty of attention abroad as well as in Germany. Described by many German media as a "boring" event, the debate was very revealing in the eyes of commentators across Europe.

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.