Germany’s tight race to replace Angela Merkel


Germany’s  tight race to replace Angela Merkel

Germany will go to the polls on Sept. 26 for its most important election in a generation, to replace Chancellor Angela Merkel after 16 years, the New York Times reports.

No party is polling at more than 25 percent, and the more liberal Social Democrats have overtaken the conservative Christian Democrats for the first time in years.

While the election itself may be exciting, the two leading candidates are anything but. Armin Laschet, the Christian Democrats’ candidate, and Olaf Scholz, a Social Democrat who is currently finance minister and vice chancellor, are both suit-wearing career politicians over 60, neither of whom is known for his charisma.
But a bold vision for change is not typically a vote winner in Germany. Konrad Adenauer, the first postwar chancellor, won an absolute majority for the Christian Democrats by promising “No Experiments.” Helmut Schmidt, a Social Democrat, once famously said, “If you have visions you should go to the doctor.”
“There are few countries where such a premium is put on being dull,” said Timothy Garton Ash, a European history professor at the University of Oxford. Germany has a distinctive political tradition of change through consensus, embodied most recently by Merkel herself.
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