Germany Votes Today In Knife-Edge Polls
Merkel backs ‘bridge-builder’ Laschet as successor
AACHEN, Sept 25: For the first time in well over a decade, German voters will enter polling booths for federal elections on Sunday with no clear idea which party will win, who will be the next chancellor, or what governing coalition will be formed.
Only a razor's edge separates the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) from the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), according to the latest poll by the Allensbach Institute, which puts the archrivals at 26 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday urged Germans to give her would-be successor Armin Laschet the vote to shape Germany's future, in a last-ditch push to shore up his beleaguered campaign 24 hours before Germans vote.
Laschet, 60, has been trailing his Social Democrat challenger Olaf Scholz in the race for the chancellery, although final polls put the gap between them within the margin of error, making the vote one of the most unpredictable in recent years.
Merkel had planned to keep a low profile in the election battle as she prepares to bow out of politics after 16 years in power. But she has found herself dragged into the frantic campaign schedule of the unpopular chairman of her party, Laschet.
"To keep Germany stable, Armin Laschet must become chancellor, and the CDU and CSU must be the strongest force," she said.
"It is about your future, the future of your children and the future of your parents," she said, urging strong mobilisation for her conservative alliance.
She underlined that climate protection will be a key challenge of the next government, but said this would not be achieved "simply through rules and regulations".
Laschet is a "bridge-builder who will get people on board" in shaping Germany to meet those challenges, she said. -AFP