Angela Merkel may triumph but what will her government look like?

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Angela Merkel may triumph but what will her government look like?

Besir Ceka, assistant professor of political science at Davidson College, says that though Merkel's expected victory is an overall endorsement for continuity, anti-immigration populism will continue to push political discourse to the right in Germany and in Europe.

"Although the AfD is highly unlikely to fare as well as the extreme right in France or the Netherlands, any relative success for the AfD will reflect badly to worldwide onlookers, given German history", said Mr Gerd Appenzeller of Berlin's daily Tagesspiegel.

The FDP remains unchanged at 10 percent.

"The nationalist rhetoric being used by AfD politicians shows that one must assume that an attitude incompatible with Germany's constitution is not only present in the party base but also among its leaders", Martin Schulz, Merkel's present coalition partner and main electoral rival, told the German weekly Der Spiegel earlier this month.

That fear could explain why more than a third of German voters are still telling pollsters that they are "undecided" - a surprisingly large number given the high stakes involved in this election. Germany's two biggest parties, Merkel's Christian Democrats and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), meanwhile, have suffered slight losses in recent weeks. "Willingness to vote" was strongest among conservative and AfD supporters, she said.

"I look in the future".

Germany's notoriously complex voting system does not allow the public to vote directly for chancellor.

The broadly clean bill of health from political experts and social media watchers is in contrast to the US and French presidential elections of the past 12 months, in which Russian Federation was accused of trying to influence the outcome.

At the beginning of 2017, the European Union was facing a quite turbulent looking year with various elections in key EU countries and major policy decisions on the horizon.

Merkel, asked by the mass circulation newspaper Bild what she would do if she won millions of euros in the Lotto lottery, said, "I personally don't play Lotto. It may bolster Tomio Okamura and his Freedom and Direct Democracy party, but we will have to see how much". The current European Commission president - Jean-Claude Juncker - has already announced that he will not run in 2019.

There was the ferocious French campaign and the surprising United Kingdom result. When new political actors walk into the scene, they often show innovative communication strategies, such as the widespread use of online channels, a highly engaged network of supporters, and a general inclination towards negative campaigning. The rapid aging of German society has implications for the country's politics.

Its members now sit in 13 of 16 state assemblies and, eyeing the national parliament, have plastered towns and cities with posters carrying the slogans "Burkas?"

Timo Lochocki of the German Marshall Fund says the AfD's rise is partly the result of the failure of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and its Social Democrat coalition partners to differentiate themselves from each other in any meaningful way. Of the mainstream parties, the FDP is the most likely to break with that consensus, arguing that sanctions haven't achieved their goals but have cost German business plenty.

Some in the party may prefer a stint as a vocal opposition to get back their mojo in time for the Chancellor's eventual retirement some time before the next election. Germans are really attracted to that stability.

It's also wrong to consider Merkel "too small for the world".

Following the torrid reception performance in an AfD stronghold, Merkel also received a hostile reception at her evening engagement in Brandenburg an der Havel, a German town west of Berlin, where AfD held a rally just ahead of her arrival. The likes of BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen will hope that either the SPD (afraid of industrial job losses) or FDP (afraid of falling industrial profits) will take the edges off Merkel's new hawkish tone.

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