Merkel anticipates another term of office
BERLIN. — Germans voted yesterday in a general election expected to hand Chancellor Angela Merkel a fourth term, while the hard-right nationalist AfD party was expected to make history by winning its first seats in parliament.
Europe’s most powerful woman appears all but assured of winning another term, matching the 16-year reign of her mentor Helmut Kohl.
Surveys suggest her conservative CDU/CSU alliance has a double-digit lead over its nearest rivals, the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Martin Schulz.
Polling stations in Europe’s top economy will close at 1600 GMT, with exit polls due out immediately afterwards.
With four other parties predicted to clear the five-percent threshold to enter the Bundestag, the highest number since the 1950s, it could take months of coalition wrangling before the next government takes shape.
But mainstream parties have already ruled out talking to the anti-Islam, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), which is polling at 11 to 13 percent and could emerge as Germany’s third-strongest party.
Alarmed by the prospect of what Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel branded “real Nazis” entering the Bundestag for the first since World War II, politicians used their final days of campaigning to urge voters to reject the AfD. — AFP.