Polls open in Germany’s general election

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Berlin, Sep 24 (AFP): Polls opened in Germany on Sunday  in a general election expected to hand Chancellor Angela Merkel a fourth term, while the hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is predicted to win its first seats in the national parliament. Surveys suggest Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance has a double digit lead over their nearest rivals, the Social Democrats. Four smaller parties, including the AfD, are battling it out for third place. To many of her fans, Angela Merkel is the ideal figure who stands up to manipulating personas like Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, and who’s humane enough to opened her country to helpless refugees.

To others, she is the anti-hero whose ill planned immigration policy is ruining Germany.  Merkel’s support base is surprisingly stable. As per public opinion polls, there isn’t any challenging enough competitors to overtake her just yet. Merkel is still eight to 10 points ahead of the rival party SPD, which indicates that a sizable chunk of Merkel’s fans haven’t turned their backs on the chancellor. Her imminent victory reflects well in the manner Germany has prospered since 2005.

Unemployment has fallen from 11.2% to 3.8%; average wages are rising and consumer confidence is remarkably high since Merkel took office. In trying to cope with the euro crisis and the influx of refugees from the Middle East and north Africa, Merkel has proved to be the indispensable personality. She succeeded in persuading the Germans that their country should take on more of the responsibilities its size demands but its history makes difficult. Polling stations will close at 1600 GMT.

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